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“The first day of school: The day when the countdown to the last day of school begins.” - Anonymous.

Can you believe it is time to go back to school?

For many, school starts in the next week or two. I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around that. When I was young, school started the week after Labor Day. The few weeks before school were eventful.

All kinds of things must be done before school starts. My favorite is shopping! Those that know me know that I have an affinity for clothes. Mom took me shopping at Sears and Roebucks for school clothes every year. We also went shopping for a new lunch box. I remember I got my first lunchbox in the first grade. Mom let me look through the lunch boxes on the shelf, and I finally picked a Mary Poppins one. Even though I got a new lunchbox every year, I still liked my Mary Poppins one the best. My mom did buy pencils and paper, but that was not required. In those days, the school provided all the required school supplies.

Before school started, my parents ensured we did one more fun activity. It may have been miniature golf, a day at the beach, a special movie, or a trip to the mountains. As an adult, I cherish the memories of those fun days.

The night before the first day of school, we had a good dinner, went to bed early, and were supposed to sleep. Usually, I did not sleep because I was anxious, and at other times it was because I was excited.

Think about your children. Do they like school, or is it a place of torment? I was bullied in junior high, and it was torment. It is essential that parents are there for their children; they need to talk and feel protected; they need a safe place. I was fortunate; my parents did provide a safe place. When things got out of hand, Dad brought the police to my school and had them meet with the girls. That did not end the bullying, but I appreciate Dad's gesture.

Many children are bullied, and it is worse now with social media. Children have done drastic things because of the bullying they received. Often, the comments are shared on social media, and the bullying comes from others in school and some people who don’t even know the person. It is hard to understand how to handle this issue. I have watched a few things on Dr. Phil but still don’t know how to address the problem.

I complained about being tormented in school; however, there were bright spots.

I made friends and enjoyed our time on the playground, going to friends’ homes after school, and having people to sit with at lunch.

I will end this part of the blog with one funny story (well, I find it humorous now!).

I was never a great student. I got by in school, but I never excelled. It was important to me that my parents were proud of me. I often needed better grades on my schoolwork. I was supposed to take it home to share with my parents. I regularly went to a friend’s house after school and left my papers there. I did not think this tactic through. One day her mom showed up at my house with all the paperwork I had put in their garbage can. Boy, did I get in trouble!

Eight Tips to Prepare for the First Days of School

1. Visit the school or classroom before the first day.

2. Read books about starting school.

3. Talk to your child about their feelings about school, friends, teachers, and new activities.

4. Set intentions (like New Year’s resolutions)

5. Practice reading over the summer.

6. Put a note in their lunch.

7. Go school shopping.

8. Encourage your child to pursue a passion project.

Have a great week.

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