The first day of a school year is quite daunting for any kid, but being the anxious little student that I was- I felt like it was a 100 times worse. It was something I was able to push to the back of my mind up until that final last week of holidays, “it’s okay, it’s still a few weeks away” would usually keep the thoughts at bay. But once that last week hit, it was panic stations.
Tomorrow, a lot of children are heading back to school, some at an old school, some beginning competent fresh at a new one. Some are away from home from the first time without the safety net of familiarity.
That’s where this post idea originated, because even if your kid isn’t anxious at the best of times, the first day of school is anxiety inducing and scary.
- Do not, I repeat, do not ignore the anxiety. Let’s not tech our children to avoid their worries and that they’re fears are unwarranted, let’s teach them steps to help manage their feelings. Reassure them that their feelings are normal, help them to work through them.
- Try to keep it together yourself. It’s an emotional time, I know, but kids are sponges and your behaviour is often modelled by them. Stay calm, show them that you aren’t feeling all the feelings, show them that you are calm.
- Answer their common worries before the first day arrives. In the lead up to the big day make sure you try to help them answer some of the big questions that are probably playing on their mind. Remind them of friends they will be in the same class with, that they know their teacher, that it’s okay to ask for help if they get lost or don’t understand something. Let them know that there will be people there to help them, especially on their first day.
- Don’t forget sleep and food!!! The two most basic necessities are important on any day, but especially on the first day. Do you feel your best when your tired and hungry? I don’t and neither will your child, a decent sleep and a nutritious breakfast should alway be on the first day agenda.
- Set up a school day routine from the first day. Wake up at the time you’ll be waking up most days, travel the route you’ll be going, set up a drop off and pick up area. Routine works well for anxiety, trusting that you know exactly what is going to happen and when helps to ease the “what’s going to happen today” anxiety.
- An even better idea from the one above is to set up your routine on that last week of school, give them a week to settle in and then they face the first day of school!
Happy first day of school to all the kiddies xx