Tips for parents with kids heading to school for the first time

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Have a child headed to kindergarten?

The transition can be overwhelming for both parents and students.

Check out FOX13′s tips to help your child head to school for the first time.

1. Meet new faces

Meet new teachers and staff in advance. Attend an Open House or Back-to-School night with your child so they can introduce themselves to the teacher. This is also a good opportunity to make new friends before class starts and meet other parents.

2. Tour the school

Check out your child’s classroom and show them around the school building. Find out where the cafeteria is and where restrooms are located. Make sure they know how to get to their class from the drop-off location and where they will be picked up.

3. Know the schedule

Make sure your child knows the schedule for school and stick to a routine. Help them start getting up and going to bed earlier. Get a planner/calendar and write down important dates in advance. Make sure your child is aware of important dates as well.

4. Shop for supplies

Get a supply list and head to the store with your child. Find a sturdy backpack and stock up on items your child will use frequently. Let them participate in picking out their supplies and allow them to personalize things when possible. Label their items.

5. Plan meals and snacks

Will your child eat in the cafeteria mostly or bring lunches from home? Start planning meals and budgeting for food in advance. Stock up on items for snack time and let your child help choose. Check out healthy options and new recipes that can make meals more fun. Plan dinners for busy nights and breakfasts for rushed mornings.

6. Talk to your child

Many kids can have anxiety about going to school for the first time. Talk to them about any concerns or fears they may have and encourage open communication. Help them talk to siblings or friends who are already in school and what they can expect. Ask them what they are excited about learning and what they think school will be like. Bedtime can be a great time to read books about heading to school.

7. Prepare for anxiety

Your child will probably have anxiety about going to school, and you may be anxious about the separation. Assure them this is a normal part of the transition. Practice saying goodbye and help your child create a plan if they get upset. They may want to carry a favorite toy or stuffed animal in their backpack. Try not to project your fears or anxiety onto your child. Don’t let your concerns become their worries. Talk to other parents or teachers if you need support. Give your child - and yourself - time to adjust. Anticipate some ups and downs and learn to let go of situations you cannot control.

8. Plan child care

Figure out if your child will be heading to daycare before and/or after school. Plan drop-off and pick-up arrangements. Check out carpool options with nearby families. Make sure your child knows the arrangements ahead of time.

9. Be involved

Check out opportunities to get involved at your child’s school in advance. Find out how to volunteer or join the PTA. Stay informed about activities and events you can participate in.

10. Brush up on social skills

If your child is shy or has a hard time making friends, help them make the transition easier by brushing up on their social skills. Teach them how to introduce themselves to students and teachers. Stress the importance of kindness and how to deal with potential bullying situations. Things like sharing, taking turns, listening to the teacher and following rules are important behaviors to help your child succeed.

11. Schedule down time

Plan to let your child relax and play after school. Create a safe, comfortable space for them to unwind and recharge.

12. Don’t forget the photo memories

Break out the camera for those back-to-school pictures. Take your child for a haircut, help them choose an outfit, and start snapping those photos.

You can even upload them below!