Every parent knows how important the first day of school is for a child. In fact, the first day of a new school year ranks as high as Christmas, Halloween and a child's own birthday. If you have a tween who is going to middle school for the first time, that very first day is extra special because it means that your preteen is growing up and preparing for high school
and beyond. A milestone to remember.
Be sure you support your child on his first day and make the day a special one. There's a lot you can do to help and celebrate with your tween. We have a few ideas below to get you started.
Sleep Well: Tweens don't think of themselves as little kids anymore, and they think that they can have the same privileges as their older brothers and sisters. And that might include staying up late at night. Be sure your child adheres to a reasonable bedtime in order to be rested for his first day. Practice by getting your child used to his school year bedtime gradually over the last month of summer vacation.
Pick Out an Outfit: Just about every child wants to make a good first impression on the first day of school. Be sure your child's outfit is washed, pressed and ready to go the night before. If you can afford a new outfit, that would make your child feel extra special.
Get Nourished: A surprise and healthy breakfast can not only make your child feel special, but can get her fueled up for a great day. Offer a healthy balanced diet that includes protein, fruit and whole wheat.
Decorate Her Room: Have a little fun, and decorate your tween's room while she's away at school. Hang streamers and balloons to create a festive atmosphere. You can even leave a surprise back to school present on your child's bed, such as something she can use for school throughout the year. Ideas might include an agenda, a bulletin board, a white board or decorations for her locker.
Bake a Cake: Let's face it, tweens love their desserts and sweets (who doesn't) and a cake certainly puts everyone in a celebratory mood. Surprise your child with a cake after dinner as a way to kick-off the school year and make a fresh start. You can even have your child make a list of goals for the year (and you can do the same) to tape to the refrigerator door as a constant and gentle reminder.
Start a Tradition: Since the first day of school is a big deal to kids, why not use the event to start a new family tradition? The tradition could be something really simple, such as taking pictures or cooking your child's favorite meal. Or, you could get a little elaborate and take your child out for a treat or a special dinner. Traditions could also include watching television together (after homework is completed), or biking around your neighborhood together.
Talk About It: One of the best ways for your child to enjoy his first day back is to tell you all about it. Be sure you ask your child pointed questions, such as, What was the funniest thing that happened today? or Do you think any of your teachers has a secret identity? Have fun with it together and be sure to listen to your child and offer positive feedback, with a little dose of humor.