August 12, 2015
Starting school, whether it’s daycare, preschool, kindergarten, or even first grade, can cause many children to feel anxious. Older children might worry that they won’t have friends, that they won’t like the teacher, that they will get lost, and so on. In general these anxieties are related to a sense that so many unknown variables create a loss of control. Talking to you child, describing the daily routines, including arrival, meals, and bathroom breaks, will help make the day more predictable. Planning a play date with new classmates can help ease the social anxiety and help make things feel familiar and safe the first day. I am also a big supporter of reading and then discussing books about starting school. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate – A playful rhyming alphabet book that shows not only the preparation the teacher Miss Bindergarten takes to get ready for the first day of school, but also the variety of emotions her students experience and the things they do before coming to school.
- The Gotcha Smile by Rita Phillips Mitchell – Acknowledges the anxieties that some children may feel about making new friends and starting school and provides positive suggestions for overcoming shyness.
- School Days Around the World by Catherine E. Chambers – Seeing school through a real person’s eyes can help children feel more comfortable about going themselves. This book lets students share, through their own perspectives, what a day is like at their school. Along with lessons about culture, diversity, and geography, real photographs and personal anecdotes help prepare children mentally for what to expect and how they may feel.
- Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney was always a favorite in my preschool classroom.
- Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes speaks to the worrywarts inside of us all. Wemberly worries about everything big and everything small, and most of all she worries about her first day of school. But when Wemberly becomes friends with another worrier, she realizes that school is too much fun to waste time worrying!
What are your favorite back-to-school stories? I’d love to hear about them! You can comment here or on our Facebook page!