With school just around the corner some children are starting to feel that hint of queasiness in the pit of their stomach when mom or dad mentions the words "first day of school". Starting the new academic year can be an exciting time for many students, for others it can be a time they dread. New teachers, new students, new classroom, new school. That is a lot of adjustment for those who prefer familiarity. As parents there are a few ways that you can help prepare your child for the first day so that they may be less anxious when it arrives.
1) Take some time with your child to verbally plan out what the first day back might look like from the time the alarm rings to the time they are home at the end of the day. Ask them what they are most nervous about, ask them what the best part might be. Help them identify some of the positives about returning to school and some of the supports that they will have there (i.e. friends, favorite teachers, classes they are looking forward to).
2) If your child is going to a new school, contact the school to see if they would allow you and your child to come in for a personal tour. This could help your child have some sense of familiarity when the first day begins.
3) Ask your child whether they would prefer you drop them off at school, or if they would like to take the bus (if applicable). Explore with them their reasoning for their decision.
4) See if you could coordinate your child's drop-off at the same time as one of their friends. Again that sense of familiarity and support may help build their confidence as they begin their day.
5) At the end of the first day, make sure to ask them how their day went. Have them identify the best parts and the not-so-best parts. Praise them for their courageousness and for getting through the first day. Help them prepare for the second day if needed.