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Checklist for the First Day of School to Help Make it easy for your child

Making the First Day Easier

  • Remind your child that she is not the only student who is a bit uneasy about the first day of school. Teachers know that students are anxious and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible.
  • Give your child some strategies for coping with bullies. He should not give in to a bully's demands, but should simply walk away or tell the bully to stop. If you have to, talk with the teacher about a persistent bully.
  • Find another child in the neighborhood with whom your youngster can walk to school or ride with on the bus. If your child is older, have him offer to walk with or wait at the bus stop with a new or younger child.

Checklist for the First Day of School

  • Have you filled out all the health forms or emergency contact forms that have been sent home? Has your child received necessary immunizations?
  • Is your child registered? When is the first day of school? What time does school start?
  • How is your child going to get to school? If your child is biking, does she know the school rules for bicycles? Have you reviewed safety precautions with her regarding traffic and strangers?
  • What time is lunch? Can your child buy it at school, and how much will it cost? Will he need a snack?
  • What clothes will your child need to wear? Are there any restrictions on what can be worn? Will she need a different set of clothes for physical education or art classes?
  • Have any new health problems developed in your child over the summer that will affect her school day? Does the school nurse know about this condition, or is an appointment set up to discuss it?
  • If your child will need to take medication at school on the first day, have arrangements been made for this?
  • Does your youngster know where he is going after school (e.g., home, babysitter)? Does he know how he will get there? If you will not be there when he arrives, does he know who will be responsible for him, what the rules are, and how to get help in an emergency?

Starting a New School

  • In addition to the tips listed above, your child may need some extra support if he is starting a new school. Talk with your child about his feelings, both his excitement and his concerns about the new school.
  • Visit the school with your child in advance of the first day. Teachers and staff are usually at school a few days before the children start. Peek into your child's classroom, and if possible, meet the teacher and principal.
  • Try to have your child meet a classmate before the first day so they can get acquainted and play together, and so your child will have a friendly face to look for when school begins.
  • Don't build up unrealistic expectations about how wonderful the new school will be, but convey a general sense of optimism about how things will go for your child at the new school.


  • Remind children to carry the minimum load, and pack heavier items first, so they are closest to the back.
  • When picking up a pack, bend with both knees and lift with the legs.
  • Select smaller packs for smaller children.
  • Look for packs with wide, heavily-padded shoulder straps. The shoulder straps should be fastened so the pack hugs the center of the back. Waist and side straps may help keep the pack close up against the back.
  • Always wear both straps so the weight is evenly divided.
  • Use a wheeled backpack when possible.

Learning and Homework Tips

  • Children learn better when they are not distracted by hunger. Encourage your child to eat a nutritious breakfast.
  • Provide a positive homework atmosphere for your child that is free of clutter and distractions, including television.
  • Show your child you are interested in her work. Re-explain assignments if necessary, and check to see that homework is completed.
  • Having trouble fitting homework into your child's schedule? You may need to cut back on his activities or see that after-school care includes supervised homework time.
  • If your child is struggling with a particular subject, and you aren't able to help her yourself, a tutor can be a good solution. Talk it over with your child's teacher first.

School Bus Safety

  • Review the basic bus safety rules with your youngster:
    1. Wait for the bus to stop before approaching it from the curb.
    2. Do not move around on the bus.
    3. Check to see that no other traffic is coming before crossing.
  • Tell your child not to bend down in front of the bus to tie shoes, pick up objects, etc., as the driver may not see him before starting to move.

College-bound Children

  • Talk to your pediatrician about your child receiving the meningitis vaccine.
  • Talk to your child about drinking. Don't lose sight of the fact that alcohol's negative effects can be devastating. If your adolescent has become a problem drinker, he may need professional help.

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CeReality: 5 Families, 5 Stories, 1 Critical Meal

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