“Did anybody besides me have trouble sleeping last night?”
That is the first question I ask students on the first day of school. If a teacher can admit to being nervous-and-excited, it makes room for students to admit their own range of emotions.
Change — even good change — is inherently stressful. Getting to know new people, new routines, and new skills is a lot for kids to process. Our youngest learners — who don’t have as much experience with “first days” — can always benefit from some extra talk-time with parents and teachers about what school is like and what they can expect.
Fred Rogers was a master at talking through kids’ wonderings and worries. As he said, “When children know ahead of time what’s going to happen — and not happen — they can prepare themselves for what’s coming. They can think about it and get used to their feelings about it.”
In the back-to-school rush, remember to talk to your child about what school will look like in simple, practical terms. What are the names of their teachers? What will the morning routine at home look like? What will they need to put in their backpack…