Back to School – Easing First-Day Jitters
August brings thoughts of new clothes, school supplies, a new teacher, and sometimes a bit of anxiety. It is very common for everyone to be a bit nervous when facing a new situation. Even as adults, we become anxious when encountering the unknown. Think about getting a new job. Did you get a twinge in the pit of your stomach wondering what your new boss would be like, would you fit in with your colleagues, etc.? Children feel exactly the same way on the first day of school. They wonder what their teachers will be like, if they will know anyone in their classes, will they have anyone to play with on the playground, will they make new friends, will they be successful in their new grade. This list can go on and on.
It is possible to help children lessen these anxious feelings. The tips below will help ease children into the new school year:
- Many schools have a “Meet the Teacher Night” or similar event allowing parents and children to find their classrooms, introduce themselves to the teacher, and find their desks. If your children’s schools provide this opportunity, make it a priority to attend. Familiarizing students with their new environment eases first-day jitters for both parents and children.
- Most schools and teachers post class lists. Looking over the lists with children allows children to determine if they know anyone in their classes. You can almost feel children’s relief when they realize they have a friend in their new class. If your children do not know anyone in their classes, let the teacher know. When teachers are aware, they can assist children in making new friends.
- Sometimes, particularly in the early grades, children may not recognize names. Tell children they may have some friends in the class but just not recognize the names. They will probably recognize some students when the students are in the classroom on the first day of school.
- If your child has a special circumstance, such as food allergies, medical conditions, etc., make the teacher aware in writing. The first day of school is very hectic for both children and teachers. Teachers will appreciate this.
- The biggest secret of all is … shhhhhh …. don’t tell …. Teachers are a bit nervous, too!
Until next time,
***Donna Hall is a Certified Reading Specialist and has 21 years of experience. She is currently a 2nd Grade Teacher at Bristow Public Schools and has served as an instructional coach at multiple schools in Northeastern Oklahoma. Donna has served on the Board of Directors of the Creek County Literacy Program for the past three years.