It will be here before you know it: the first day of school. How did our babbling babies get to be kids who can tote backpacks across school doorsteps?
If the idea of your darling starting elementary school has left you feeling disoriented, like you're in a crazy time warp where infants morph into schoolchildren before your very eyes, we are right there with you. We get it. That's why we put this list together. So that in the midst of your disbelief and nostalgia and (let's not forget) glee at the prospect of at a half a day sans offspring, you wouldn't forget to...
1. Act as calm and cheerful and confident as you want your child to feel.
2. Use a sharpie to write your child's name on the label of her jacket or sweater.
3. Get some lovely personalized labels at Mabel's Labels for all of the other things your child is liable to misplace at school during the year.
4. Steel yourself for a tearful goodbye or no goodbye at all (some children don't even give their parents a backward glance!).
5. Meet some of the other parents—soon enough you'll be calling them for playdates and planning class parties together.
6. Look the teachers in the eye and thank them in advance for all they'll be doing for your little one this year.
7. Listen to the teachers and respect their ground rules: if they say not to bring toys from home, don't; if they indicate that it's time for the parents to go, go! And so on. This helps your child learn that, in the classroom, the teachers are in charge.
8. Get there on the early side so that you have plenty of time to take in the scene and say goodbye.
9. Pack some "comfort food" (your child's favorite lunch) today.
10. Resist the impulse to bring your camera into the classroom—neither the teachers nor the children need the distraction on their first day together. Instead, take a picture outside the school before you go in, or save the photo shoot for another day (there are plenty ahead!).
11. Be right on time for pick-up today. Don't give your child even a moment to wonder, where's my daddy or mommy?
12. Plan a special after-school treat for this first big day—your little one deserves it (and so do you)!
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