She has no children of her own, but Daphne Oz vividly remembers her schoolgirl days and still loves the air of excitement—and sales on notebooks—surrounding back-to-school season.
Not to rush anyone out of summer, but can you believe back-to-school season is upon us? Time flies when you're having fun and all that.

Though I'm out of school and don't have any little ones of my own, I can't seem to escape the excitement, anxiety and anticipation (or all the deals on pens and paper) as fall approaches. Maybe it's because I'm not in school (or maybe it's because I'm just a sappy person), but I always feel nostalgic at this time of year. Later in the month, when the air changes and smells crisp, my brain will naturally start calling up old memories of the first day of class and all the variety of emotions that went with it.

Partly to indulge my own desire to get the most of these memories—and partly because I want to brainstorm while I have the time before I actually have the kids—I want to share a couple of my favorite ideas for helping your kids get ready for school.

Stage 1
As a toddler, nursery school is totally terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. If you have an independent Leo—yes, I love horoscopes—the chance for your child to start developing her social personality will be a welcome development. As the parent, you're the open arms for comfort, love and affection, but you're also the person who makes it okay to go off into the world because home is a safe place. when she gets back.

To help your child get ready for nursery school, start her off with a couple playdates. Learning how to socialize, share, be heard and listen are all exceptionally difficult concepts, especially for an only child who has never interacted with people her own age without a parent around to intervene when she tries to yank the crayon away a little to hard. But it's also going to be very important that your child not feel like she is losing you by spending time away. Therefore, carving out time to be together—I remember loving to cook (make a terrible mess with food) with my mom and doing fun craft activities together—is important when it comes to growing a well-adjusted and confident child. Giving your toddler an opportunity to be in control may sound like a recipe for disaster, but it is actually a great way to teach her to respect authority, to tame her own fits of emotions and to be both a good leader and a good follower.


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