Is your child nervous about going to school? Check out this list of five ways to easy your child’s jitters before the big first day!
It’s that time of year where the sound of rejoicing parents can be heard from around the country. It’s time to go...BACK TO SCHOOL!
You, as a parent, may feel excited but how do you help your child cope with nervousness for the first day?
Here are five ways that you can address your child’s nervousness, and help build excitement for the start of school:
1. Familiarize Your Child With The School/Teacher: Be sure to attend Back To School Night(s) and Meet The Teacher events. Often, children are most nervous for an experience they can’t visualize, especially if that means spending all day with a stranger. If they can picture their classroom and their teacher, they’ll have much more confidence heading into day one of school year. You may even consider taking pictures while visiting. You can take pictures of the school, hallway, classroom, your child’s name tag, cubby, desk, etc. Each day before school starts, you can use the pictures to talk about all of the exciting things your child will learn and do while at school. This is also incredibly helpful if your child is nervous about school pick up (where you will be, how they will find you, where they will catch the bus, etc.)
2. Books, Books, Books!: There are so many books out there that introduce the idea of going to school. Many of these books discuss a character’s uncertainty about school and how they overcome their fear. Here are a few of my favorites:
The School Book by Todd Parr
First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
Pete The Cat’s First Day of Preschool by Kimberly Dean and James Dean
Countdown to Kindergarten by Allison McGhee
Ms. Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
Amelia Bedelia’s First Day of School by Herman Parish
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
3. Surprising Lunch Box Notes: Whether your child can read or not, a note from you in their lunchbox or backpack will definitely make them smile. If your child doesn’t read yet, draw a picture of a cartoon character or animal that they like and include their name with some hearts or stickers. If your child can read, remind them that they are loved and that you will see them after they conquer their first day.
4. Shiny and New School Supplies & School Clothes:Keep those shiny new school supplies, spiffy new backpack and squeaky clean school clothes just for school! Heading to school in a new outfit, uniform or backpack with some brand new supplies is sure to make any kiddo feel like a million bucks. Really talk up their new gear by saying, “Won’t it be so cool to wear this backpack to school?” or “I bet you will do some really cool art with your new crayons!”
5. A Fun First Day of School Tradition: Establish a fun first day of school tradition in your family! Maybe you add sprinkles to pancakes and call them “party pancakes” on the morning before school starts. Maybe after school you play at the park with some friends. Maybe you go for ice cream after pickup. Find something slightly out of the norm that you can do with your child to celebrate the first day of school.
Regardless of whatever you do to prepare for the first day of school, your child might show reluctance or even cry on the way in and that’s okay! Children are resilient. Your child is learning that we all face things we’re scared of and sometimes, we have to do them anyway. We can be courageous! It is important to consider that you might also be the only one who cries as your child sprints into their new classroom and never looks back.
Ashley is a certified elementary school teacher and the mother of a spunky and silly one year old. She is also a self-proclaimed coffee snob, foodie and lover of Jersey City currently residing in the neighborhood of Bergen-Lafayette.