Virgil Winston: Marketing Guru

As the day my kids return to school grows closer, I can see my wife literally changing before my eyes. She smiles more, snaps less and is generally happier. I’d like to think she is appreciating the time she has left to spend all day every day with three kids, but I know the truth. She can’t wait for them to go back to school and get out of her hair. I can’t really blame her. I often shut the door to my home office just as the chorus of “I’m bored,” “There’s nothing to do!” or “Why can’t I play my Xbox?” begins. Don’t get me wrong, our children aren’t shut-ins—our daughter has a part time job, the youngest went to swim camp and our middle boy went to computer camp. But those activities only last so long. The rest of the time, they bug us for rides to the mall, hog the TiVo and make my wife’s life a little more challenging. So, now that September is here, Mrs. Winston is excited about getting her house back…and I’m happy to regain control of the television.

Of course, there are some drawbacks. This year is my daughter’s last in high school and next year she will go away to college, leaving our nest just a bit emptier. The real big change is that our “baby” graduated kindergarten and will officially enter the first grade in a brand new school with new teachers and new friends and he’s a bit stressed. I know from all your letters and emails that many of you are experiencing the same type of transition, so I thought I would share some tips I found to help make it a bit easier (for you and your child).

1. Be enthusiastic about the big change. If you are excited your child will be, too.

2. Prepare. If possible, visit the new setting with your child. Introduce your child to the new teacher in advance.

3. Arrange a play date with another child from the new school so your child will see a familiar face when he or she walks in.

4. Start daily routines that will add to continuity. Let your child become involved with packing lunch or laying out clothes.
a) We bought a Lunch Pak Plus imprinted with our son’s name to start the process and symbolize a new beginning.

5. Put aside extra time, particularly on the first day, for chatting and commuting together. But remember not to prolong the good-bye. If the child whines or clings, staying will only make it harder. Say good-bye and then leave.

I hope these few tips will help make your child’s first day of school a fun one to remember. And speaking of remembering, as my Mom used to say to us kids on our first day of school, “Get out of my hair before I give you something to cry about!” Mom wasn’t sentimental, but she meant well.