How to Prepare for the First Day of School

By a show of hands, how many of you are ready for the first day of school?

Oh, dear! I'm sorry. Did the very mention of heading back to school set your heart racing with anxiety? The good news is, you're not alone. Whether you are a parent, a child or a teacher, the first day of school can be as stressful as skydiving. (Hence the reason I'll leave that sport to the extreme adventure seekers.) By now, most parents have likely stocked up on back-to-school essentials and teachers are currently setting up their classrooms with their latest Teacher Appreciation purchases. For all of us, children included, we can follow some simple steps to help ease our anxieties that are often part and parcel of starting a new school year.

Organize everything the night before. Prepare lunches, select outfits and pack your bags before you head to bed. You will probably sleep better and won't need to rush the next morning.

Get plenty of sleep. Waking up at the crack of dawn is much less painful if you've had a good night's rest.

Eat a healthy breakfast. Do I really have to justify this one? According to my own kids, I do. Everyday. But it's worth it.

Set your alarm. And set it again. You know, just in case you hit the 'snooze' button. Or worse, the 'off' button. I typically set up three alarms on my smart phone at select intervals and with different tones. This is in addition to my bedside alarm clock. Don't ask.

Get your camera ready. Okay, parents. I'm not just talking about your cell phone camera. I'm referring to that digital point-and-shoot camera that's hiding in the back of your miscellaneous drawer. You know, the one you spent a small fortune on and used regularly before you even had a camera phone. Make sure the battery is charged and that there is plenty of room on the memory card. And for the love of photography, avoid using the flash. Instead, use natural lighting to your advantage. Have your "I'm in [insert ordinal number here] Grade!" signs ready to go and choose a location that doesn't have a busy background. Get down on their level and get all snap happy.

Before you know it, the first day of school will be but a digital memory.

By Diana Mancuso

August 22, 2013