Help Your Child Start School Stress-Free

As August winds down, ads for school supplies and back to school clothing abound.  The children in the commercials appear to be excited about shopping and starting a new school year.  However, beginning school can trigger anxiety in younger children.  That is not surprising since new situations can be stressful for all of us - young or old.  Here are some suggestions for helping your little one have a positive experience as she starts school this year.

To help initiate a more accurate and complete conversation about your child’s school, please look at our free “Back To School” e-book.

Back to school activity pack

Also, you can visit the school before classes begin. If possible, also have your child meet her teacher   Teachers are in their classrooms preparing for the new year and may be available for a quick “meet and greet.”  Keep the introductions short so that you don’t take the teacher away from her work for long.  I never minded meeting a student briefly, knowing that even the quick conversation would help ease anxiety.

Let your child know what she is expected to bring on the first day (often lists are sent home prior to the start of school).  Then take your child shopping so she can have some input into what is purchased and will know that she is going to school prepared.

Begin adjusting bedtime from the summer schedule to the school schedule about a week before school begins. Often bedtime on school nights is earlier.  Moving your child’s bedtime slowly will help ensure that she is ready to sleep when you put her into bed.

Talk about the school as the first day approaches. If your child expresses concern, let her know that those feelings are not unusual and that many children are nervous about starting school..

Arrange a play date, if possible, with another child in your child’s class.  Usually, class assignments are sent to parents several days before school begins.  Getting acquainted with a classmate before that first day may help ease anxiety..

Read stories about starting school.  Picture books will entertain your child and can also give her some information about what she might expect as she begins school. Stories are also present opportunities for discussion.  Ask your child how the characters in the story felt at the start of the book. Did the feelings change at the end of the story?  Does your child feel The same way?  Look at the pictures in the book.  Identify some typical things that tourmaline may see in her new classroom.

Some suggested picture books to read before school begins include:

  • Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
  • The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing
  • Kindergarten Here I Come by D. J. Steinberg
  • The Berenstain Bears Go to School by Stan Berenstain
  • Arthur Goes to School by Marc Brown
  • First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
  • First Grade Jitters by Robert Quackenbush

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