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Ask Denene: First Day of School

Prepare yourself: Emotions can run high on the first day of school. There will be begging (her). There will be guilt (you). There will be crying (both). But you will survive. To make the transition a little easier, put in some work ahead of time.

Start by giving your daughter the 411 on her new school: what time it starts, what she'll be learning, what she'll have for lunch. This can go a long way toward calming fears of the unknown. Then start setting her fall routine: Have her go to bed earlier, and, in the morning, get dressed, eat breakfast, and head out the door by a specific time--so it'll be old hat by the first day.

Last: Once the day comes, celebrate! When my girls made their big transition, they came home to a "Yay School!" party. Over cupcakes, we congratulated them for becoming "big kids"--which got them pretty geeked about their new adventure!


Denene Millner has judgment-free advice for the trickiest kid (and grown-up!) behaviors. Send her your questions at