Getting back into school mode can be a big adjustment for parents—so imagine how the kids must feel. After months of sleeping in, splashing around in the pool, and snacking about 25 times a day, heading back into the classroom is a big change for little ones. Make sure they’re ready (and willing!) with these helpful tips.

photo: Wokandapix via Pixabay

1. Ease the kids back into a routine. After months of late night firefly catching and lazy, laid back mornings, getting back to an early-to-bed, early-to-rise routine may be jarring for children. Instead of letting them live it up until the very last second, start easing your little scholars into a routine about a week before school’s set to start. You can even lay out clothes for them the night before and have a healthy breakfast waiting when they shuffle into the kitchen. They may moan and groan when you tell them it’s time to wake up, but better now than on the first day of school.

photo: Cheryl Holt via Pixabay

2. Schedule play dates with peers and peers-to-be. Despite all the end of year plan making and number exchanging, the reality is that little kids don’t spend a ton of time with their friends from school over the summer. To get the kids excited about heading back to the classroom, schedule a few play dates with familiar faces as September nears. And if your kiddo is going to a new school where he or she don’t know anyone, ask around and see if you can find a mutual friend or two. It will be worth the effort!

3. Make a trip to the school playground. Over the summer, school playgrounds are pretty dead, which makes for a great opportunity for your child to familiarize herself with important things, like where the monkey bars are and which slide is fastest. Also, you never know, another parent may have the same idea and your kid—and you—could score a new friend before the first bell rings!

photo: Annie Spratt via Unsplash

4. Host a back-to-school party. Some people have an end of the year school party, so why not have a back-to-school party? Of course, between stocking up on classroom supplies, figuring out this year’s after-school activity schedule, and the zillion other things you have going on, you’re likely short on time—so keep it simple. A few friends, some snacks, and a couple of “back-to-school” goodies (think notebooks, pencils, and rulers) should make for a bash to remember—and of course, it will get the kids pumped about the year ahead.

5. Schedule a visit from the back-to-school fairy. Instead of dragging your kids through the aisles of Target in search of backpacks, folders, and new socks, call on the back-to-school fairy. After they’re asleep, lay out new clothes, backpacks, and notebooks for the first day of school. Even if they’re feeling a little nervous, the exciting new loot is sure to put a smile on your kids’ face.

photo: Fanfarria Etsy Shop

6. Get Mommy and Me bracelets. Show your child you’ll be thinking of her all day long—and that you’re never that far away —with sweet matching Mommy and Me bracelets. Actually, this may help you just as much as it helps your child!

photo by Megan Savoie via Unsplash

7. Send them off with a fun breakfast. Leave the cereal in the cupboard on the first day of school. Not only is it fun to surprise little ones with something new and different on the first day of school, you want to make sure they’ve got enough fuel in their tank to get them through the day. Learning is hard work! If you have time, try to plan something tasty, healthy, and that will put a smile on their face when they sit down at the table. Also, for what it’s worth, you’re likely to earn serious cool mom points for this one.

photo: Amazon

8. Stock up on back-to-school books. Whether it’s your kiddo’s very first day of school ever or if he’s a seasoned student, back-to-school books are always a good idea. Stock up on books about the first day of school, the night before the first day of school, and school in general. It’s a great way to get your child back in the September mindset—and of course, the extra snuggles are pretty great, too.

9. Give your child one last “summer wish.” Before heading back to the land of homework and rigid schedules, give your kiddo the opportunity to pick one last end of summer hurrah. A day at the beach? A morning at the water park? His wish is your command. And with such fun plans, who has time to be nervous?

10. Find your zen. The first day of school is always an emotional time for parents, particularly if it’s your first child or the first day of kindergarten or preschool. While you might have the urge to shed a tear or two, try to steady yourself and keep calm. Because as every parent knows, kids feed off of mom and dad’s energy. And no parent wants anything but positive vibes for their little one’s big day.

How do you ease the first day jitters for your little one? Share with us in a Comment below!

—Nicole Fabian-Weber