Although many children are excited about going back to school and seeing all their friends again, it can also be a nerve-wracking time! Kids can sometimes have anxiety and apprehension about the beginning of a new year. After all, they’ll have a new teacher, new classmates, and a new schedule. Some children may even be starting at a brand new school - or entering school for the first time! All of these “unknowns” can be unsettling for young children!
Starting a new school year doesn’t have to be stressful. There are many ways parents can set their children up for a wonderful start to a new academic year. Here are some ideas parents have done to make their child’s first day of school a very special one!
1. Create a morning routine.
Ease first-day nerves by setting up a routine. You can even write it down or make a schedule on the computer, and hang it somewhere your child can see. The more she knows what to expect, the easier those mornings will be. Include things like getting dressed, brushing teeth, eating breakfast, packing her backpack, and grabbing her lunch box.
2. Pick out a special outfit.
Take your child shopping for some new clothes for the new school year. Picking out a few special new outfits can create excitement about going back to school. Some children enjoy picking out a new pair of shoes every school year, or a new lunch box, or new jacket. Let your child pick out something new for the new school year.
3. Pack a fun first-day lunch.
If you pack your child’s lunch, try making it extra special for the first day of school! Cut his sandwich into a fun shape like a heart or car. Include a treat, such as a small cookie or a package of fruit snacks. Choose foods you know your child will eat, and pack enough food so he won’t be hungry before school ends! Include high protein foods such as nuts, cheese, and meats. You can even include a little note in there for your child to read during lunch time!
It’s important for your child to see a friendly relationship between you and her teacher. Keep in mind, teachers will likely be very busy on the first day of school, and probably won’t have time to strike up a conversation. Consider bringing a small gift on the first day, from your child, or a coffee. Introduce yourself and your little one during drop off. Pay attention to any papers that are sent home during the first week, as many teachers will ask for volunteers or certain school supplies. When you pick up your child at the end of the day, spend a minute or two discussing with the teacher how her first day went!
5. Plan something fun for after school.
If your child is dreading the start to a new school year, consider planning something fun for after school. Tell your child you’ll take them to their favorite park, or out for ice cream, or to watch a movie after their first day is over. Having something to look forward to can help the first day of school pass by faster for children that are very nervous.
There are many ways to help ease first-day anxieties. Remember, a little nervousness is normal as the new school year begins. Your child will have a lot of new things to look forward to. Try one of these tricks to make their first day super special and fun!