Tips for First Day of School
Jessica Glenbocki

Easing the First Day of School Anxiety

Tips for First Day of School
Jessica Glenbocki

Easing the First Day of School Anxiety

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Is your child up late tossing and turning before the first day of school? Don’t worry. It won’t be that bad! Just tell your child to keep their head up and follow these six simple tips to make the first day great!


1. Visit the school or attend the open house before the first day of school

One thing that helps to decrease the back to school jitters is to visit the school and meet the teachers before the first day if possible.  Many schools schedule open house nights where you and your family can meet the teachers, pick up your schedule, and tour the school to get a feel of where all your child’s classes will be.  This meeting is a “trial run” for the first day of school.  So be sure to attend the open house if your school offers it.  It’ll help keep your child from getting lost and showing up late when you do it for real. If your school does not provide an open house night, have your child envision themselves in the classroom.


2. Wear Something That Makes Your Child Feel Confident & Comfortable

You might want to show off your new shoes and dress but come lunchtime, your child will wish they wore something more suitable for lugging around a backpack. Stick with something practical. Plan the first day outfit with the words “comfy but cool” in mind.  Lay it out on the bed, but then be sure your child tries it on to ensure it’s comfortable.


3. Get to know the Teachers before the first day of school

You and your child will spend a lot of time with the teachers over the next few months, so instead of your child being afraid of them, or despising them, get to know them.  Ask your teacher questions either at preview night or by email.  Who knows, the teachers might have some really cool interests that they can share with you and your child, which will make coming to school a lot more fun for your child.


4. If Your Child’s Friends Aren’t in All Their Classes, Don’t Sweat It

Tell your child to focus on getting to know their new classmates and catch up with last year’s pals after school. In a couple of months, your child will have more friends, not less.


5. Get a good night’s sleep and eat breakfast in the morning

Now that school is back in session, it’s time to get back into the routine of going to bed at a decent hour, getting as close to 8 hours of sleep as possible, and eating breakfast in the morning. Try to start this nighttime and morning routine at least two weeks before the first day of school so that it becomes a habit, and then on the first day, your child will be good to go.  They will learn better, be less cranky, and be better prepared for the new challenges and adventures this school year brings.


6. Know That It’s OK to Feel Freaked-Out

Going back to school is nerve-wracking for everyone, even if some children don’t show it. Just tell your child to try to stay as calm and focused as possible. As the school year gets rolling, they will wonder why they were so worried in the first place.

Keep in mind that the first day of school might feel super long for your child.  But it’s just a mental trick because your child is experiencing so much new stuff. Next week, when they are more familiar with their classes, it won’t feel like that anymore!

About the Author

I am an occupational therapist with 12 years of experience working with children of all ages and diagnoses. I graduated from Cleveland State University with a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. After working in the field for a number of years, I obtained my certification in sensory integration. I currently work with school-based children in a virtual setting, focusing on fine motor, visual motor, self-help and sensory processing skills. I am also pursuing my Doctorate of Occupational Therapy through Shawnee State University’s on-line program. My pediatric experience includes working with children of all ages in various settings such as hospital based out-patient clinic, private out-patient clinic, early intervention, and school-based; brick and mortar and virtual schools. It is my hope to help educate and provide you with the tools to allow your child to reach their greatest potential. Treatment approaches focus on play and client/child centered interventions. My passion is helping children and families live their lives to the fullest!

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