When Your Child is Nervous About the First Day of School PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jan Pierce   

The first day of school is a landmark day at any age, but especially if it’s the day he enters first grade, or she enters middle school. It’s normal to have questions, doubts, and even a few fears related to those big days. “What will my teacher be like? Will I get lost? Will I make a friend?” These are just a few of the questions your child may be asking and worrying about.

What can you do to help your child manage these normal, but a bit scary feelings? Here are five tips to help you navigate the queasies this school year.


  1. A week or two before school begins, change your schedule back to your family’s normal school day routine. Go to bed earlier and get up earlier. Practice being ready to be out the door at the normal school time. Up the reading schedule each day and do a little review of basic learning skills such as handwriting and math facts. Get into school mode and that first day won’t come as such a shock.


  1. Do a trial run at the school. Get permission to tour the building if it’s new or just visit the playground and spend a little time. You may have the opportunity to actually meet the new teacher in person or say hello to office staff. Just seeing the facility may help to calm fears of the unknown.


  1. Talk about first day fears. Let your child know that teachers are a bit nervous and excited on the first day of school too. Read a book about back to school such as First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg or Brand-new Pencils, Brand-new Books by Diane deGroat. Voicing fears and talking about them is a way to diffuse the tension and turn fears into a positive “looking forward to” kind of feeling.


  1. Display confidence in your child’s abilities and coping skills. Kids are quick to pick up on parents’ fears for their safety or success. Show your child you are fully confident that they’ll be fine and that the school year will be a great one. You’re not worried.


  1. Let go. Easy to say, but hard to do. Each new school year is an exercise in growth and independence. A few rough patches in the road won’t overcome all the love and support you’ve given your child over the years. He’ll be fine. She’ll be fine. Just breathe.


Jan Pierce, M.Ed., is a retired teacher and freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Find her at www.janpierce.net.



Books to Help Get Rid of the Back to School Queasies

For K-3

First Day of School by Margaret McNamara

First Day, Hooray by Nancy Poydar

Emily’s First 100 Days of School by Rosemary Wells

Amelia Bedelia’s First Day of School by Herman Parish

The Night Before First Grade by Natasha Wing

First Grade, Here I Come by Nancy Carlson

First Grade Jitters by Julie Danneberg

Brand-new Pencils, Brand-new Books by Diane deGroat


For Older Children

How Not to Start Third Grade by Cathy Hapka

The Top 10 Ways to Ruin the First Day of School by Ken Derby

How to Survive in Middle School by Donna Gephart

Middle School: The Stuff Nobody Tells You About by Haley Moss

A Smart Girl’s Guide to Starting Middle School by Julie Williams Montalbano

Too Old For this; Too Young For That, Your Survival Guide to Middle School by Harriet Mosatche

Middle School: My Brother is a Big, Fat Liar by James Patterson

Last Updated on Thursday, 31 August 2017 02:23
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