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When Your Child is Nervous About the First Day of School

Submitted by on August 11, 2017 – 11:37 amNo Comment

Child nervous about first day of school

When Your Child is Nervous About the First Day of School: Overcoming the Queasies

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. 

  • A week or so 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.
  •  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.
  •  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.
  • 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.
  • 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 is a retired teacher and reading specialist. She is the author of Homegrown Readers: Simple Ways to Help Your Child Learn to Read and Homegrown Family Fun: Unplugged. Both are available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Jan lives with her husband in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and specializes in parenting, education and family Life articles. Find Jan at


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