Surviving Their First Day of School

The thought of your children’s first day of school has probably been in the back of your mind since they were born. Planning for the future, even if for a moment, is simply hardwired into our “mom brains.” The key to planning, however, is preparation, and you’re going to need it for the first day of school.

When you’re sending three kids off to their first day of school, the last thing you want to be worrying about is whether or not they have everything. Preparation is going to keep your sanity intact, and make the transition into schooling smoother for everyone.

Preparation for your Children

Your kids are going to be busy adjusting to their new routine, so it’s up to you to make it a little easier.

Of course, we know you’re going to be adjusting as well, and can use some help yourself. The real secret to successful preparation is getting it done the night before!


There are a few essentials that your children will need daily. Having these items ready to go first thing in the morning is going to save you a great deal of time and hassle.

  • Clothes– Whether your children wear uniforms, or casual dress, lay the clothes out the night before for each child. Don’t forget to include socks!
  • Supplies– You certainly don’t want your children getting to school, and realizing they’re missing the needed tools! Pack your child’s backpack nightly with basic essentials including: pencils, paper, erasers, notebooks, etc.

Meals for the Day

When the first day of school rolls around you may find you’re preoccupied with simply getting your children dressed and out of the house! Of course, you definitely don’t want to forget their lunch and snack. A way to make this aspect of schooling a bit simpler is to utilize meal prep.

  • Lunch boxes- Reusable lunch boxes are a great tool to have on hand when you’re making meals for three. Each child can choose one with a favorite character, which makes mealtime fun!
  • Don’t forget to include a couple snacks, as well as a drink.
  • Meal Prep- Technically, this prep is all for you. Making three lunches every morning, or even every night, can be time consuming. Try making large family dinners that will leave plenty of leftovers for the beginning (or maybe even the entire) week.
  • Invest in food containers like these. They can easily fit into lunch pails, while making meal prep much more manageable.Try packing the lunches for every school day of the week, seal them tightly, and place them in the fridge (assuming you have enough fridge space!).
  • Labeling the containers by child will help keep things organized for the morning transfer into the lunch box. This is especially helpful if one of your children has allergies.

Preparation for Parents

Your kids are undoubtedly excited for their first day of school, but we all know it’s a much bigger deal for parents. After all, your kids are now truly entering society. Cue the tears, grab the tissues, and let yourself have a quick cry.

Now that you’ve let that out of your system, we have a plan for you too.

“The First Day” Survival Kit for Parents

  • Tissues- Keep them in your pocket and in your car because you never know when those feelings are going to wash over you again.
  • Your Favorite Treat- Chocolate, Cake, Candy: whatever your favorite, enjoy it when you get home! You don’t have to share!
  • Have a Drink- Sit back and enjoy the [temporary] calm while your kids are at school. Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, and unwind. You might even finally get to enjoy it while it’s still hot!

A Few More Tips for Mom and Dad

  • Remember that while this will be an emotional day for you, don’t let your children see that. Send them off with only positive vibes, and reassure them you will all be together when school is over.
  • Pick a spot for drop off, and pick up, and ensure your children know where it is.
  • Make sure your children know who will be picking them after school, each day.
  • Don’t forget about emotional preparation needed for the big day! Talk to your children about how they may feel about their first day. This is a good chance to resolve any anxious emotions.

Handling Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety may hit you at some point, but it’s likely to be coming from the kids. It’s a very strong emotion on those first days of school. After all, your kids have spent their lives [ until now] attached to your side, so it’s perfectly normal for them to feel uneasy about leaving for such a long time.

Overcoming it…

  • Be Strong– First and foremost, don’t let your children see any signs of this anxiety from you. They can sense that you’re worried, which only leads to a harder goodbye.
  • A New Acquaintance– Walk your children to their class, and say hello to their teacher. Seeing you interact will help ease their separation fears.
  • Always let your child know you will see them “later.” You can even give them the time of day that you’ll be there, so they have something to look forward to.
  • Keep Goodbyes Short– It’s tempting to hug your children for dear life on that first day, or maybe even follow them into class, but it’s important to keep goodbyes short.
  • Be There in Spirit– Leave post-it notes in your children’s lunch boxes or notebooks to remind them you love them.

Even if your children cry and scream for you on that first day, they will get past it. Soon they’ll be running into class without giving you a second glance. When that happens, and you feel that pang of your own separation anxiety, revert to your survival kit mentioned above.

Home After the Big Day

This is your moment to shine, and to make your children fall in love with school. They’ll still have reservations about it at this point, but that first afternoon back home can make a huge difference.

  • Ask your children to tell you about their day. What was their teacher like? What was their favorite part of the day? Did they make new friends? Letting them express their newfound emotions will do wonders. (Tip: Pay attention to their school when you drop them off. This can give you things to talk about when they come home.)
  • Another idea is to have them draw their favorite thing about school that day. The great thing is they can do this everyday!

You’ve got this…

Parenthood is full of adjustments, and this time in your life is no different. The first day of school may not go quite as smooth as you hope, but putting in the time to prepare is going to make a world of difference. You’ll soon have this new routine down, and school mornings will become just another task to conquer.

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