Most children are anxious and excited on the first day of school each year. You can help make the day easier for your youngster by keeping the following guidelines in mind:
- Point out the positive aspects of starting school: It will be fun. She will see old friends. She will meet new friends. Refresh her memory about previous years, when she may have returned home after the first day with high spirits because she had a good time.
- Remind your child that she is not the only student who is a bit uneasy about the first day of school. Teachers know that students are anxious and will be making an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible.
- Review all your child's accomplishments from last year, and talk about the kinds of interesting things she will learn in the months ahead.
- Buy her something (perhaps a pen or pencil) that will remind her you are thinking of her while she is at school, or put a note in her lunch-box.
- Reassure your child that if any problems arise at school, you will help resolve them. (If problems do occur, get involved as soon as possible.)
- Find another child in the neighborhood with whom your youngster can walk to school or ride with on the bus. If your child is older, have her offer to walk to school or wait at the bus stop with a new or younger child.
- If your child is not going to ride a school bus and you feel it is appropriate, drive your child (or walk with her) to school and pick her up the first day.
- Encourage her to look for new students in her classroom or in the playground, invite them to join the group for a game, and ask them about their interests.
- After school, show your child some special attention and affection. Give her a hug and ask what happened at school. Did she have fun? Did she make any new friends? Does she need any additional school supplies (notebooks, rulers, erasers) that you can shop for together?