If your child has First Day of School jitters, don’t dismiss his fears. Attending school for the first time can be difficult. And, young children may suffer from severe separation anxiety,
According to Parents magazine, common fears that children may express include:
- “I don’t want to be away from you for so long!”
- “I’m too scared to ride on a bus all by myself.”
- “What if the teacher is scary or acts really mean?”
- “I’ve heard there’s lots of work in kindergarten. Will I get to have any fun?”
- “That building is so big. I’m afraid I’ll get lost!”
“Kids who are fearful early on may be the ones who have a harder transition in other aspects of life,” says Nadine Kaslow, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University and chief psychologist at Grady Health System.”Some children are just more flexible, more adaptable and these firsts don’t seem to be that big a deal for them. For other kids, any transition is very disruptive. It takes them longer to make the transition. The more you prepare a kid the better, especially if your child is sensitive.”
Kaslow suggests several strategies to help kids cope including preparing your child for the new routine, attending the Meet the Teacher Night, talking your child through a typical day, conducting a dry run, and allowing your child to be needy for a few days.
Helping children understand that they are not alone may help, too. Many popular books tackle the subject of First Day Jitters. Here are a few of our top picks to get your child ready — and excited — for a new school year!
First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg. Everyone knows that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach just before diving into a new situation. Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn’t want to start over at a new school. She doesn’t know anybody, and nobody knows her. It will be awful. She just knows it. With much prodding from Mr. Hartwell, Sarah Jane reluctantly pulls herself together and goes to school. She is quickly befriended by Mrs. Burton, who helps smooth her jittery transition.
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. School is starting in the forest, but Chester Raccoon does not want to go. To help ease Chester’s fears, Mrs. Raccoon shares a family secret called the Kissing Hand to give him the reassurance of her love any time his world feels a little scary. Since its first publication in 1993, this heartwarming book has become a children’s classic that has touched the lives of millions of children and their parents, especially at times of separation, whether starting school, entering daycare, or going to camp. It is widely used by kindergarten teachers on the first day of school.
The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing. It’s the first day of school! Join the kids as they prepare for kindergarten, packing school supplies, posing for pictures, and the hardest part of all–saying goodbye to Mom and Dad. But maybe it won’t be so hard once they discover just how much fun kindergarten really is!
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