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First day of school words of wisdom from our contributors

We asked our past and present contributors to share their best tips for a successful first day of school and school year! We hope one strikes a chord with you to help your family with your Best School Year Ever!

Bobby Deskins, meteorologist at WTSP-10 News, father of 3: 

“Research how you want to take the “first day of school” photo. You may not think much of it, but it could become a tradition and you would want it to be a good one.” 

Anu Varma Panchal, TBPM associate editor and mother of 3: 

First Day of… Middle School: “Accept that this may be the first year you won’t get to walk your not-so-little-one all the way to their classroom door. When my older one started sixth grade last year, a friend and I met in the parking lot and said our goodbyes there before letting the two of them walk in by themselves. It’s a tough one to swallow, but don’t worry, you’re still the one they’ll want to share all the details with when they get home at the end of the day. (Full disclosure; I cheated and waited a few minutes before going in to take a picture through the open classroom door. She rolled her eyes; but all the other moms thanked me. I wouldn’t risk this with a more bad tempered child, though.) 

Xandy Whitman, Creator of and mother of 2: 

“Set the breakfast table the night before- put portioned cereal in plastic bags inside of bowls and lay out a spoon, so all you need in the AM is milk. Fewer choices help the morning move more smoothly. Also plan to leave ten minutes before you should- first day of school pics can take longer than expected!” 

Tara Payor, Ph.D., TBPM writer and mother of 2: 

“The week before school starts, begin practicing the morning routine. Set the alarms, get dressed, and eat breakfast on the schedule you’ll have to stick to for the school year. This helps prevent arguments and frustration as everyone works to move from a slower summer pace into the full throttle of the school year. I feel so much better about the day ahead when we get through a morning without raised voices.” 

Anna Tataris De Jesus, Creator of and mother of 2: 

“My first day of Kindergarten tip:  Before school started there was an open house for parents only.  So while I was there I took a picture of the classroom, the teacher, my child’s cubbie, and the playground.  I used the pictures to show her what it would be like there.  It got her really excited about starting school.” 

Emily Hinsdale, writer and mother of 2: 

“Go for a swim! Hit the pool right after school everyday during that first week. Kids spend those first few days of school so controlled and contained after summer’s freedom that they need to just let loose and be wild when the school day ends. Let your child play in the pool for a little after school and they will be more relaxed (and more pleasant!) physically and mentally.” 

Ellie Hirsch, founder of The Mommy Master and mother of 3:

“Just because summer is over does not mean the fun is over. If you adopted any new family traditions over the summer, like exploring new places or trying new foods, create new traditions for the school year as well. While schedules can get hectic while school is in session, there is always a way to create new family fun.” 

Grayson Kamm, Hillsborough County Public Schools Communications & Media Officer and father of 2 (TBPM June 2017 guest editor): 

“How was school today?” “Fine.” That was our dinner conversation until we started play ‘the game’ (we need a better name for it). Everyone takes a turn sharing something they liked today, something they didn’t like, and something they are looking forward to tomorrow. Start playing and it may get you more than the classic grunt-shrug combo when you ask about their day.” 

Merris Pope, editor of Hula Frog-South Tampa and mother of 2: 

“Be organized! Make a check list of everything you need for each child and start shopping early.” 

Tanya Arja, Hillsborough County Public Schools spokesperson and mom of 3: 

“School campuses generally open a half-hour before school starts, so plan to drop off your student early so they can eat breakfast with their buddies. Because breakfast is so important, we serve free, nutritious breakfast ever morning at Hillsborough County Public Schools.” 

Marisa Langford, creator of and mother of 4  

Kindergarten Tip: “This will be my last first day of Kindergarten this year. I have done this four times now. Here’s my advice. It’s okay if they cry. It’s ok to be nervous. It’s all going to be new. Be early on the first day. The less they are stressed they will find the fun in the newness and hopefully have a super awesome day. I’ll be ready with a super fun and healthy snack when they get home and I can’t wait to hear all about it.”

Jaclyn Keenan, producer of Great Day Live on WTSP and mother of 3: 

“Leave a note in their lunchbox letting them know you love them, are thinking of them and can’t wait to hear all about their day.”   

More Back to School Related Stories:

School Security: What your child’s school district is doing to keep your kids safe

The Bedtime Routine: Expert tips for back to school success

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