Enjoy the Ride!

5 Do’s and Don’ts to Help Parents Survive the First Day Emotional Roller Coaster

The beginning of the school year is upon us. We look forward to the new experiences our children will have during the school year. So, here are a list of do’s and don’ts when preparing for the first day of school.

1 DON’T forget to celebrate! It doesn’t matter if it’s the cabbage patch, the nae nae, or the first running man, but be sure to take a moment to celebrate. As parents, we can feel a mixture of excitement and relief that we’ve gotten through another summer. It’s okay!

2 DO remember that it’s also okay to cry. When you have a moment, preferably when you’re alone, absorb the reality that your child is getting older, especially if this is a milestone year, like I am experiencing with my youngest child starting kindergarten. Have an all-out, tears streaming down your face, soul-stirring bawl-out session; whether it’s on your way to work or at home—let it out! There’s no judgment here, as I will certainly have the tissues on deck this month.

3 DON’T be too hard on yourself if you forget something that your child absolutely needs on the first day. All parents get a pass on being perfect—especially if you are busy making sure your children have lunch squared away, taken showers, brushed teeth and hair, have their favorite shoelaces or hair clip before they’re running to the bus stop or car on the first day. Someone in the entire school will have extra pencils, no one will starve and that hair clip/shoelace/favorite button (fill in the blank for your family) will look just as great the second day of school as it would have the first.

4 DON’T forget to hug, kiss and reassure them that they can conquer whatever challenges the school year may bring because you’re there to affirm, nurture and guide them. Along with their teachers, you’re their biggest cheerleaders. Even if we think our children know that, it never hurts for them to hear it again. What’s the worst that could happen? We strengthen our bond with them and our reassurances help them reach their potential? I’ll take those odds any day.

5 DO remember what it was like the first day of school during your own childhood—the joys, growing pains and sometimes fear of the unknown often resulted in us realizing that as quickly as the first day began, the school year ended. As parents, let’s encourage our children to find something to enjoy each day, so when they’ve finished their school career, they can look back on their days and see how those memories shaped and strengthened them.