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“You Are Brave and Kind”: Helping Your Child Get Ready for the First Day of School

Last week at the library, my six-year-old pulled The Kissing Hand off the shelf. “Look, mommy! You read this book to me before I started kindergarten last year! And then you kissed my hand so I could keep your love with me ALL DAY, remember?”

Of course I remembered. I remembered her nervous energy – and my own! – as we approached that momentous first day. When I taught elementary school, I began the year by asking the class, “Did anyone else have trouble sleeping last night?” And every year, several hands would slowly rise, followed by ripples of relieved laughter. When adults share their own emotions, and give kids space to express theirs, it reminds children that “big feelings” are absolutely normal. Everyone gets a little bit nervous before they start something new.

The first day of school is a transition, and transitions — even good ones — create stress. It takes a lot of energy to adjust to a new routine and get to know new teachers and classmates. As one veteran kindergarten teacher reminds parents: “It takes most children about six weeks to adjust to a new school year. Don’t be surprised if they are tired or emotional after school for the first few weeks. They may need a little extra patience and love.”

Here are three strategies for helping your child get ready for a new year.  Keep Reading


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