Managing First Day of School Jitters for Students!
Happy Tuesday, September 5th!
While I have always loved the first day of school, millions of children (and some adults) do not share my feelings. So, I constantly look for ways to help my students ease the anxiety of the first day of school. This year, I discovered a thoughtful piece from nprEd with tips that parents and teachers can use to help students deal with those first day jitters.
Elissa Nadworny suggests the shift from “summer’s freedom and lack of structure to the measured routines of school can be rough on some kids causing some children to lose sleep and may contribute to outbursts” (Nadworny, 2017). Therefore, she believes the work of parents and teachers begins with an understanding that this “anxiety can occur no matter the age of the child” (Nadworny, 2017). In order to combat the anxiety that many students feel about the first day of school, Nadworny’s piece suggests several helpful tips for parents as well as teachers:
- Begin your school year routine early – Children thrive on routines (even the informal ones) so starting your school year routine before the first day of school can help to reduce the first day of school jitters.
- Do a dry run – This is a helpful tip for parents of children who need to get a lay of the land before heading into school for the first time. Like Nadworny, I believe a dry run might include a visit to the new school, classroom, or going over transportation logistics with a child when necessary.
- Reach out to the teacher – Parents give your child’s teacher a heads up. Early communication with a teacher about a student’s anxiety can equip the teacher with the necessary information to help support a student as he or she transitions into the new classroom/school routine.
- Create positive expectations – Nadworny calls this tip “positive messaging” and believes it can be a useful way to talk about things kids can look forward to in school.
- Easing anxiety can take time – This is a reminder to parents and teachers that not everyone is able to adjust to new routines, people, and situations quickly, therefore, patience is key.
- Parents and teachers have anxiety, too! – Remember, before we can help the children in our lives deal with their anxiety, we have to take care of ourselves first.
To read Elissa Nadworny’s entire lists of ways to combat first day of school anxiety, click here. Here is one more resource for lovers of Sesame Street about mindful breathing. tlb
Head of Lower School & Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Louisville Collegiate School