He has a cool backpack, awesome jeans, and his favorite lunch to munch midday. But, as he heads out the door, you know he's a little nervous. No matter if he's trekking to a new school with new friends or returning to a familiar place with the same buds, the first day of school can cause more than a little anxiety for even our tiniest kiddos. How can you ease those nerves? Follow these tips to help your child overcome the first day of school jitters.
-- Get into the routine again. Feeling prepared helps everyone feel more confident going into a new situation. A couple weeks before, slowly ease back into "school mode" with regular bedtimes, reading fun, and games that have an educational slant so his brain is primed and ready.
-- Go over the class list. When you find out who will be sitting in those desks around him, reach out to a couple of his buds or new friends and arrange a play date before school starts. Having a few familiar faces can make those butterflies flitter away.
-- Talk about it and what may happen this year in school. Go over tricks and hints about lockers or gym class. Chatting about it and visualizing the regular day-to-day of school can help to demystify the big feelings he may be having.
-- Give him tools to use. Whether it is role-playing how to ask someone to sit with him at lunch or what to say to a bully, empowering him with phrases and words builds that confidence, which diminishes the nervousness.
-- Read about it. Especially a good idea for little kids entering Kindergarten or first grade, head to the library to read about some favorite characters dealing with the same situation as your child. Tales of how Dora or Elmo are a little nervous are the perfect springboard to chat about how he may be feeling.
-- Make sure you are ready too. Know the times and details about the school year, the teacher's name, and any other information so he doesn't miss anything. Plan out the first few mornings of school and reschedule your work meetings or appointments for later in the morning so you aren't rushed, which can make your child's anxiety that much greater.
What were your kids nervous about on the first day of school? Share your tricks and hints you used to calm the butterflies!
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