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The Best Real Mom Advice on the First Day of School

Aug 29, 2012 at 2:21 PM Chime in now

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By LAURA MOTTA

Get Quality Gear
"Buy a large, high quality backpack! I know everyone says that they're too heavy for little kids, but trust me. It's such a pain for little ones to have to walk to the bus or home with everything galling out. Plus, the zippers on low-quality backpacks break so easily! Don't spend the money anywhere else." --mom_suzeq

Relax About Academics
"I wish I would have known that my children didn't need to know absolutely everything before they got into a classroom. I could have enjoyed being with my children more, instead of quizzing them on letters, numbers, spelling and counting." --chickmunk

Make Snacks Squish-Proof
"If you pack snacks, pack them in a hard plastic container so your kid doesn't smash them when sitting on the bus. Most of the kids leave their backpacks on durng the bus ride." --cl-cheryl_n_my2boys_j_d

Figure Out Food
"Pack a half sandwich unless you know your kid can eat a whole one in the .3 seconds he actually spends eating during his lunch period. Prepare for a hungry child after school." --thesunshinekid

Get Smart With Supplies
"We purchase school supplies all year long, so we're not spending a big wad of cash all at once. I always call the school and get the list of required items. Schools pretty much require the same essentials year after year, so it saves us time." --chikmunk

Get Involved
"If your school doesn't have organized parent visits, set one up. You will not regret having lunch with your child in the cafeteria and meeting his classmates. See if you can come in and read a story or bring a snack for the class." --cl-cheryl_n_my2boys_j_d

Set the Routine
"Get into a school-night bedtime and wake-up routine before school starts! Don't expect your kids' 10 p.m. summer bedtime to magically (and peacefully) transform into an 8:30 bedtime on the first day of school. Also, don't assume that your child, who slept until 9 all summer, will happily get up at 6 for school. Start early and work into it." --cl-cathiann

Divide and Conquer
"One of the most helpful things is a hanging clothes divider - the kind with 6 or 7 shelves meant for storing sweaters in your closet. You can usually find them with dorm room supplies during back-to-school season. I do all the laundry in one day and then check the weather for the next week. Then I'll put an outfit in each of the 5 sections. Their clothes are all laid out for the entire week and I don't have to think about it again. I also check their schedule to see if they need to wear anything special - they wear special t-shirts for trips or 'nice' clothes for picture days - so I can make sure that it's in the divider for that day." --cl-timgina323

Think in Colour
"Here's something to try if you have more than one school-aged kid. In our house, we colour code everthing, including backpacks, pencils, notebooks and folders. If I can't buy items in different colours, I mark each item with a plain coloured dot, like the kind you buy for yard sales." --chikmunk

Learn the Trends, Then Buy
"As the mom of a girl, I now only buy a few pieces of clothing before school starts. I have had to spend so much extra money after finding out that 'everyone' was wearing a specific jacket or backpack that was different for the one I bought my daughter." --poppymac

Skip the Extras
"Resist the temptation to spend extra money on unnecessary things like monogrammed pencil cases and super cool folders. They all end up worn out and they go relatively unappreciated. Get normal pencils. They won't get your kids in fights, either!" --thesunshinekid

Anticipate the Emotion
"I wish I'd known how emotional that first day was going to be for me. Your child is going to seem so grown up when you take them to school that first day. It's okay to cry, but you might not want to do it in front of your child because it might upset them. That first day is such a bittersweet day because they will always be your baby, but you still want them to grow up." --cl-joshndansmom

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