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First Day of School Checklist
As the first day of school approaches, most children (and parents) are filled with a mixture of excitement, curiosity and apprehension. Here are a few suggestions to help your child start the school year without a hitch:

  • Make sure your child is registered for school. Learn what time school starts and ends and find out whether the first day of school ends earlier than usual.

  • Make sure emergency contact and health forms have been filled out and returned to school.

  • Ensure that your child can recite her full name, address and phone number. A fun way for youngsters to learn this is to sing this information to the tune of a familiar rhyme or song. Even a 4-year old can learn how to do this with enough repetition. Write down the phone number where you can be reached during the school day, and provide this to your child and the school office.

  • Find out school protocols for snack time and lunchtime, and let your child know what to expect. Pack a healthy snack and lunch, or provide lunch money if necessary. (Tucking a note inside your child’s lunch can be a welcome surprise.)

  • Let your child’s teacher know if your child has any health problems, such as food allergies or asthma. If your child needs to take medication at school, make sure the teacher and/or school nurse is aware of this.

  • Let your child know what is planned for after school. At the end of the first day, it may be best for you to be at home when your child arrives, or for you to pick your child up, making sure to be on time. If you can’t be available after school, let your child know who will be responsible for her after school and how to reach you by phone. Tell your child when you will be available, and plan a fun way to celebrate the first day of school.

  • The night before school starts, help your child prepare for the next day by: choosing an outfit together for the first day of school; setting an alarm clock for the morning, giving ample time for your child to get ready;
    • planning a favourite breakfast to start the day;
    • assembling any first day school supplies that may be needed;
    • having a camera ready to take those precious “first day of school” pictures.

  • Keep your own mood upbeat and positive, even if you’re feeling your own first day jitters. Review with your child what to expect at school, and acknowledge any fears or concerns she may have. Be reassuring and supportive, and show pride in your child’s independence.
Laura E. Stachel M.D. Obstetrician & Gynecologist