Liza starts school next week, and I have a million things racing through my mind in preparation. Beyond gathering school supplies and running around town to get all of the appropriate forms filled out, I want to make sure Liza and the rest of of our family are set up for a successful school year. Part of this is making sure Liza knows what to expect, what is expected of her, and remind myself what is expected of me! To help me with all the do’s and don’ts of the school year, I enlisted my pal Bren Underwood- author of the modern etiquette blog, Must Bring Buns– to run through some back to school etiquette for us. See below for her great tips, and be sure to head to her blog for lots of inspiration and great reads. I could scroll through her blog all day!
“As summer winds down and the seasons prepare to change, children enjoy their last few afternoons at the pool, neighborhood lemonade stands, and carefree schedules. Back to school parties and school supply shopping are at the top of the to-do list, followed by the very first day of school. Our little boy is starting preschool in a couple weeks, and preparing for his first day and the coming school year has opened my eyes to an entirely new world. His seersucker backpack is monogramed, first day of school outfit selected, new shoes purchased, and I even had precious little blue dump truck labels made for his water bottle and lunchbox. He’s ready to go!
Preparing for school is more than just monogramming a backpack, coordinating calendars and packing lunches though. It’s making sure our children can shine as their best selves, and helping them to have a great first day, and in turn, a great year. We can help them to shine like the little stars that they are by giving them a foundation for good manners, and that starts at home. So parents, sharpen those pencils as I share my top tips on back to school etiquette. Wishing everyone a fantastic school year!
Punctuality: Talk to your children about what time school starts (and ends) the importance of being on time. Explain that if they are late, the whole family will likely feel stressed and flustered, and it will disrupt the class. Make sure and wake them up in the morning (or if they are old enough, show them how to set their alarm clock) at least an hour before school so they have plenty of time to eat breakfast, get dressed, etc., and try to stick to a consistent morning routine. That way, they will know what to expect and it will make it easier on both of you.
Magic Words: Please & Thank You: Whether 2 or 12 years old, it’s oh so important to always say please and thank you. These powerful words show gratitude and respect and are the ABC’s of good manners.
Looking your best: Clean clothes, brushed hair, brushed teeth, clean face – kids need to look their best so they can feel their best and be confident. Talk to your children about making a great first impression with their teacher and classmates on the first day, and how that begins with taking pride in one’s appearance.
Be prepared: If you have younger children, this applies more to you, Mom and Dad. Make sure and read all of the letters and emails from your child’s school so you can send them with whatever it is that they need, be it chocolate chip cookies for the bake sale or a costume for dress-up day. Also, be sure to communicate any allergies or other need-to-know info with your child’s teacher and school.
Respect the teacher: You will likely have an opportunity to “meet the teacher” before school starts, and so be sure to remind your child of their teacher’s name and how to properly address them – Miss, Mrs., Mr. X. Also, remind them that the teacher is in charge, and the importance of listening to them and following directions, as well as talking to them if there is a problem.
Respect classmates: Just as we encourage children to respect their siblings and friends, they need to also respect their classmates. This means striving to always be kind, friendly, empathetic and inclusive. Additionally, it’s paramount that we help our children have compassion for children who might be different from them, and teach them how to embrace their classmates and their differences.
Playground behavior: Playgrounds are a time for children to run around, have fun and get all those wiggles out! That said, it is not ok to push, pull hair, name call, cut in line, etc. Instead, encourage your child to take turns, share toys, make new friends, and follow the school’s safety rules. This goes for sportsmanship too – help your children learn how to celebrate wins, and accept losses and above all maintain a positive attitude.
Classroom behavior: When inside the classroom, children need to use their inside voices and listen to the teacher. If they are standing up in their chair or interrupting the teacher while she’s reading a story, it will disrupt the class and make it hard for the other children to enjoy school.
Wellness: Again, mom and dad this one’s for you. If your child is sick, please keep them home and be considerate of the other children in the class who don’t want to fall ill.”