Back To School! (Or 1st Time At School)

Back to School is a crazy time for a kid! There is excitement for what is to come this year and to spend time with their friends. There is also apprehension and stress because they aren't sure what to expect. It can be even more scary if this will be their first time going to school or day care. For these kids, this will be a completely new experience. The best way to help quell some fears and put some anxiety to rest is to follow the steps I have listed out here. Let's make this school year start off right!!

Talk about what to expect for the new school year. Discuss the things that will be changing at home. Allow them to share their fears and emotions about it and don't make them feel as though these feelings aren't valid. Offer reassurance and tell them about your experiences as a kid going to a new school! It really helps a small child to cope when they know that you did it too. If you can throw in a funny story about your experience, it will help break the tension even more. Be sure to be positive and upbeat about the coming changes. Kids can sense when you are worried or apprehensive and it will carry over to them. Some children may benefit from having a heart drawn on their hand or a smal trinket they can keep in their pocket that will remind them that you are always with them.


There are many great books that talk about going off to school for the first time or going back to school. Read a few of these books with your kids in the days and weeks leading up to school to help them with their fears and anxiety. ALL of these are available on Amazon or in your local library!

In this story, the little girl is beginning kindergarten and she is afraid. The books talks about what she is afraid of, shows why she ends up having a great time, and that her brother was able to help her!

This book helps with kids facing separation from their parents for the first time. The ideas inside will reinforce the ideas in my first section about giving your kiddos something to remind them that you are always there with them.

Everyone knows that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach just before diving into a new situation. Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn't want to start over at a new school. She doesn't know anybody, and nobody knows her. It will be awful. She just knows it. With much prodding from Mr. Hartwell, Sarah Jane reluctantly pulls herself together and goes to school. She is quickly befriended by Mrs. Burton, who helps smooth her jittery transition. This charming and familiar story will delight readers with its surprise ending.

Wemberly worried about spilling her juice, about shrinking in the bathtub, even about snakes in the radiator. She worried morning, noon, and night. "Worry, worry, worry," her family said. "Too much worry." And Wemberly worried about one thing most of all: her first day of school. But when she meets a fellow worrywart in her class, Wemberly realizes that school is too much fun to waste time worrying!


It's a great idea to have your child help when picking out their school supplies. Whether they need everything from crayons to notebooks or only a new backpack, bring the kiddos to the store and get them involved with picking out their loot. Then, once you get it home let them help get it all packed up and ready for the 1st day. This will help to generate excitement about what is coming and will also allow them to feel like they have control of something.

A great way to help get them excited is to let them come with you when you pick out their school supplies! Even if they only need a new back pack, lunch kit, or shoes, being there to help will get them involved. Once all of the supplies have been taken home, ask for their help to package them up ready to take to school. This whole process is great for them to feel involved and somewhat in control.


Beginning a week or 2 out, slowly change their routines. Start setting bedtime back a few minutes each day. Start getting them up earlier in the morning. During the day, begin to change their meal times and when they nap (if they still nap). By starting these changes early and doing it slowly, it will make the new school routine much easier for them to handle. It won't be one big change all at once. Believe me, you will have much less grouchy children this way!


If your child INSISTS on picking out their own outfit, and you know it is going to be a lengthy process that will disrupt the entire morning, choose for them while giving them the opportunity to choose for themselves. Pre-select 2 full outfits, from underwear to shoes (and hair bows, if appropriate) and set them out. This way you can allow them to pick out their outfit and they feel like they did it themselves, but the morning's routine should remain in tact! This can be a real time saver if you have a picky, stubborn kid.


Mornings can be a real pain! Trying to get everyone ready and out the door can be pretty stressful. I find that planning ahead and getting everything ready the night before can make the morning run so much more smoothly. I set out my son's outfit (he doesn't care what he wears yet), my outfit, and pack up our bags. I pack our lunches and get breakfast ready to go. My mornings are pretty smooth and I like it that way! I also wake up early enough that I can get myself completely ready, then I get my son up. I get him up early enough that he has some time to wake up and eat a little breakfast. We both function much better if we don't have to get up and rush out the door. Do whatever works best for you, this is just what works for us!


The first few days of a new routine are tough. If you plan a little extra time in the morning it can really help. In case your child spills something on their shirt and you have to change it, you should have a few extra minutes planned so you aren't going to be late. It always happens like that during the first week, so if you make time for these little things, you are prepared and not stressed out.


When you pick them up or they get dropped off on that special first day, greet them with a special "1st Day of School Treat"! This can be anything from a specially made cupcake to a new sticker book. Whatever will be special for your kiddo. You can then make this a 1st day of school tradition every year, one that they can look forward to. 

     9.   BEGIN CHORES

Once school has started, it is a great time to begin a chore chart for your kids. They need to feel like productive and responsible members of the family. By giving them daily chores, it will help to reinforce manners, responsibilities, and understanding of being part of a family. Young children can have very simple chores, such as "wiping the table" after meals. You will most likely have to redo it, but give them the opportunity to be helpful. Trust me, starting this now will make it much easier to continue as they get older instead of trying to start chores once they are older and don't really want to be helpful anymore!

Have a great first week! Once you have all gotten into the routine, it will get easier.

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