Thursday, August 4, 2011

First Day Jitters......How to Cope!




The first day of school is nothing new to me. I have faced it now several times with our 3 older children. But that doesn't make it any easier especially when you have a child who is scared to death!  I will never forget my oldest child's first day of preschool. I took him into his classroom and when I tried to leave, he held on to my leg and cried his little eyes out begging me not to leave him there. When I finally walked away, I was a total wreck. It was so bad that the teacher called me a few minutes later to ask ME if I was ok. *LOL* Seriously though, he was in a great school with the best teacher he could have possibly had but he did this for several weeks. Eventually he was better but those weeks were terrible on all of us. And this went on into kindergarten and even 1st grade!!!! I am not sure who it was harder on...him or me!

Then we have my second to oldest child, Emma, who took off into her classroom on the first day and never looked back.  She is Miss Independent and has been since the day she was born. She is JUST like her Mama!

Then sweet baby #3 came along and I am not kidding you. He cried every single day the entire year of preschool. The teacher assured me that he quit crying though right after I left every day so we continued taking him, knowing it was for the best.

So what does all of this mean?! It means you never know what to expect from your child on the first day of school so be prepared!!

Children look at the first day of school with mixed feelings of excitement and apprehension.  Even older children who are "old pro's" by now experience jitters. They are faced with a new teacher in a new classroom with new students and they don't know what to expect.  They are worried about who will be in their classroom and how they will fit in socially. Will they get a mean teacher? Will the work be too hard? Will other kids bully them or tease them? Kids new to the school scene like kindergarteners are overwhelmed by being in a new environment. They don't know their way around. And they might not be used to being away from home all day, every day. Separation anxiety is difficult on the entire family. It's hard to watch your children grow up but it's also an exciting time to watch them learn and grow!!!

Myoptumhealth.com had a great article with some great tips to help ease the pain of the first day of school!

Communication

Start off by talking to your child about what's bothering him/her. Talking about their concerns can help ease her fears. Ask them to tell you their favorite things about school and remind them that they will be with friends they haven't seen all summer. Also tell them that many kids have first day jitters and that in no time at all, they will fall into the routine.

Starting the transition

Fear of the unknown can make anyone apprehensive. From giving a speech to giving birth, being prepared makes a scary event less stressful. The same is true of the first day of school. Ease the tension by preparing your child in advance for the upcoming school year.

•If your child is new to a school district, call the school and ask if there is a new student orientation. There he can meet other kids who are in the same boat, so there will be a few familiar faces on the first day.

•If there is no orientation, ask for a tour of the school. See if you can meet your child's teacher.

•Find out which of your child's friends will be in his classroom. Have them play together before school starts. Having a friend nearby can help your child relax.

•A few weeks before school begins, start easing your child into her school routine. Have her go to bed a little earlier each night until she's falling asleep at the proper time. Also have her wake up earlier in the morning.

•Go back-to-school shopping. Make it a special day. Go to lunch and then let him choose his school supplies and new clothes. Allow him to express himself in a way that will make him feel comfortable and confident on his first day.

•If your child worries about how to approach her peers or teachers, do some role-playing. Give her the tools she'll need to forge new relationships.

•Reassure him that even though the first day or two may take some adjustment, he'll soon fall into his new routine.

With your help, your child can face the first day of school with excitement instead of anxiety. You may even find that her back-to-school jitters disappear shortly after the first bell rings.


Is there anything special YOU do to help prepare your child?


1 comment:

  1. I remember my sons did ok with school. We had trouble with bullies on the bus. I remember my husband riding the school bus with me behind in the car. The things we have to go through. Your advice is great. Great review of subject. Rita Spratlen rj_angel_house@yahoo.com

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