My daughter Louise’s first day of school will be in August but as early as now, I’m already thinking what I should be doing for her on that day. She’ll be in grade one this year, staying in school for the whole day, without us to assist her during snacks and lunch time, and even while taking her toilet breaks! For sure I’ll be both worried and emotional on that day because it would be the beginning of a new chapter but imagining her growing up in the school we’ve chosen also makes me excited. Will she gain lots of friends? Will she love her new world? These are just a few of the many questions that I have in my mind right now and I know most of you can relate.
If first day of school gives us mixed emotions as parents, how much more to our kids? Whether they’re going for kindergarten or grade school; separation anxiety, lots of tears and possibly tantrums are expected. To give them a good start in this new journey, I prepared this #GrowHappy tips which in one way or another, can help them ease the negative emotions and focus more on the fun and excitement that lies ahead:
- Song and Music to Start the Day
No matter how long you’ve been practicing to let your kids wake up early (lucky you if your child is a morning person!), there’s still a chance they won’t get up. By the time the alarm goes off, instead of starting a battle, why not wake them up with a funny or silly song that you both know? Try the birthday song but sing “Happy First Day” phrase instead, who knows it might do the trick! While getting up for a warm bath or shower, try to boost energy by having their fave dance music in the background. Ditch the nursery songs and choose the ones with fast beat. In our case, Zumba songs work best. Louise loves the “Shaky Shaky” song currently, thank God we’re done with “Despacito”!
- Dress up to Boost Confidence
While there’s nothing wrong with dressing up, going extra is a no-no here. Choose an outfit which is not only appropriate for school but also something which is comfortable to wear and move around, an outfit that your child can pull off. For Louise, I know she’s shy but just in case things go better for her on the first day and end up playing with new friends, I’m planning to just let her wear cute pants or stylish leggings. For mommies who prefer dresses, please make sure it’s long or let her wear pants underneath. One thing we don’t want to happen is having our kids get embarrassed on this special day.
- Make Breakfast Extra Special
Louise’s favorite breakfast of all time is ‘champorado’ (chocolate rice porridge). One way to make it more special is by decorating it with milk so I might try this one.
Of course she might have a new favorite by August so I’m still open for changes and new ideas. One thing that she won’t change though is her choice of milk which is part of her daily breakfast. She likes Nestokid so much which is good because I know how the milk can help her to have a strong and healthy tummy which can also improve her immune system.
- Make Lunch More Fun
I’m so jealous of moms who can prepare artistic lunches and bento boxes every single day for their kids. It’s not that I’m not willing, I just don’t know where to get the energy and ideas needed, not to mention I should be preparing it early in the morning. So if you’re one of the moms who’s able to do those trendy bento boxes, I salute you! For moms like me who prefer easy lunch preparation, don’t feel guilty. We can still make our kids’ lunch boxes extra special by slipping a note inside. Not only it can surprise them, it can also give them comfort and ease the stress they’re feeling.
- Go to School With Your Child. Don’t forget to Take Photos
It’s a new world out there for our kids so having us parents by their side is very important on this day. I remember my Mother once told me to have a day off from work if possible because kids remember this day even when they’re already grown-ups. In our digital age, taking good quality photos or videos is now easier than before. So whether your child is showing that big smile or cute sad face, get your camera ready and start rolling and clicking!
The first day of school is also the start of a new goodbye ritual. “Do not linger” – advice of many moms. Keep goodbyes as quick as possible. “I love you” and “See you later” are enough. Geeez! Easy to say, hard to practice! The first day’s going to be so hard but as long as we’re consistent, goodbyes will be easier in time.
- Welcome Your Child Home With Fun and Style.
If you have time to make a ‘happy first day in school’ banner, then do it! If not then at least consider buying their favorite snacks? How about cooking their favorite food for dinner? It’s a new routine that your child has just practiced with all the mixed emotions, so at home, let them loosen up and de-stress. Be playful with them, at least hours before bedtime.
This day is certainly worth celebrating so if you have extra time and budget and your kids still have some energy, consider taking them out to their favorite restaurant. For Filipinos, I guess we only have two choices that kids really want, Jollibee and McDonalds. A Jolly Kiddie meal or Happy meal is an affordable choice for a reward.
- Start a Fun and Healthy Bedtime Routine
Right now, Louise is still allowed to use gadgets but definitely, days or weeks before August, screen time will no longer be allowed at night. As much as I want to let her have fun at home while unplugging, tickling and dancing sessions with daddy will also be prohibited when it’s almost time for bedtime. I guess we’ll be left with storytelling and reading while she drinks her Nestokid milk.
Bedtime routine differs in every family so whatever that suits you, as long as it’s the best for your kids, do it and stick with it.