Intellectually, all parents know that they are just biding their time until they have to separate from their children, in bigger and more serious ways. It begins with the umbilical cord, and culminates when they move across the country for a job or a spouse. Along the way comes your child’s first day of school. Big deal? Yes. But how can you be prepared for it?
Get a Good Night’s Sleep. Not being well-rested is a body stressor and can lead you to make irrational decisions. Tired people are cranky, and less likely to be nurturing. You owe it to your child to be calm.
Make Sure There’s a Good Breakfast. Your child may have a mix of feelings, but hunger shouldn’t be one of them. Try to include proteins and fats in the breakfast of your child because they’ll keep him full and allow him to concentrate. As for you, you may be hungrier than usual and tempted to eat donuts and other high-carb, low-nutrition items either because you’re in a rush, or because those items are available at the parent and teacher tables. Those will hep you up and bring you in for a blood-sugar crash which is not good if you’re the emotional type, or you have a long distance to drive to or from school.
Don’t Share Your Anxiety. Whether you had a traumatic experience with your first day of school or you’re just generally anxious, try to keep that somewhere on the back burner. Your child will not be helped in any way by having your anxiety lumped on to his. Try not to create any unrealistic expectations (“you’ll make a ton of friends”) or create unnecessary panic (“Don’t let any kids sneeze on you.”) Keep it calm and even, and remember to be the adult.
If history is a judge, your child will likely not remember very much about his first day of school. And that’s the way you want it.