Moms everywhere are running around in a panic looking for all those MUST HAVE items for their kids' first day of school.
Here's a little checklist for everyone to review. It's not supposed to make you feel like you have more to do -- it will hopefully reassure you that you've got most things nailed. There are just a few things you need for day one, some ideas to ease your child into a new environment and some handy mom items.
What you should have for day one:
1. Backpack - see our latest picks for some great choices.
2. A lunch/snack pack - we've got ideas for those too.
3. Water bottle - I would encourage you to label this and buy more than one because it will get lost. Yes, I guarantee it.
4. Shoes - I'm not saying they need to be new, they just need to fit, and your child should be able to run around in them. Flip flops are not recommended. You'll likely be asked for a pair to leave at school as well.
As far as anything else is concerned, we recommend waiting to get the official list from the teacher to find out what school supplies you need.
In terms of preparing your child for school, here are some great tips for parents who are sending their child to school for the first time and for kids who are entering a new school:
1. Organize a playdate with a child in the class if you can find a neighbour or friend to make an introduction.
2. Take your child and a friend to the playground in the schoolyard a few days before school starts -- and plan to spend a lot of time in that very same playground before and after school each day so your child can get to know the other kids in the class.
3. For children staying for lunch for the first time (i.e. full day kindergarten), have them practice eating out of their lunch boxes at home a few times.
4. Get back to regular sleep routines! No more summer hours for you and the kids. Start getting to bed and waking up earlier.
Moms need to get organized as well. You'll find some fabulous time saving ideas in our 22 Morning Time Savers but I would also recommend you don't leave home without:
1. A travel mug for your morning coffee/tea - because you probably won't have time for that before you're out the door and on your way.
2. A Sharpie - the kind you can attach to your key chain -- good for labelling all those items that didn't get labelled.
3. A note pad - for leaving notes to teachers, other moms at school or in your kids' lunch bag if they are old enough to read.
A few other tips I rounded up from the moms at Savvy HQ that I thought were helpful:
1. Stock up - there will be lots of sales on at this time of year, whether it's granola bars or pencil crayons (pencil sharpeners are always going missing in our house), so buy extra because you will need them.
2. For older children, be sure to create a good study space - set aside some time with your child to organize a study space they can own that is separate from the TV and video games.
3. Talk about safety with your kids - remind them of all the rules while walking to and from school. Don't put their names on the outside of backpacks as it can give a stranger a way to make a connection with them, and teach them to cross the road safely.
Finally -- make sure you have scheduled some very important time for you during the week, whether it's a coffee or a yoga class (or both). Make sure that you are part of the new routine. And remember, just as a ponytail does not qualify as a hairstyle, neither does a trip to the grocery store qualify as mommy time.
Happy new year, everyone!