The first day of school – at any age – can be nerve-wracking. That’s OK, because it’s a new year that’s sure to be packed with different lessons and experiences. As the years go on, students tend to form deep bonds with current friends, but even those evolve as new friends come and go.
Understandably, the whole back-to-school experience can be a lot for young minds to handle.
Let’s calm those nerves and make sure your child (and you) are prepared for the school year. The details behind these tips can vary from grade to grade and person to person, but anyone could apply them generally to preparing for school.
Anxious for the First Day of School? Let’s Break Down What Your Student Needs
Rest assured, those nerves are completely normal. But if you break it down into a process of easily understood tasks and realities, it tends to run much more smoothly. (And hopefully, your child will be cruising and having a blast at school in short order!)
1. Having a Nighttime and Morning Routine (and Sticking To It)
Having a nighttime and morning routine before school can save you time and keep your child on track and ready for the first day of school – and every day after. The school day actually begins the night before. Your routine can include:
- Packing the backpack the night before
- Having a lunch ready (or studying the school’s lunch menu)
- Picking out an outfit (our school uniforms make this easy!)
- Having a set bedtime
- Waking up every morning at the same time
- Eating breakfast
- Brushing teeth
- Bathing/showering the night before or in the morning
- Coordinating transportation and leaving the same time each morning
Staying on a routine actually helps the school, too, because your child will arrive fully prepared and fueled for a great day of learning!
2. Embracing Socialization
Some students have a knack for socialization. Others are a bit more shy. Either way, socialization is a critical component of the school experience – whether you’re attending a small, private Catholic school like ours or a large public school.
While some students naturally feel uneasy about connecting/reconnecting with friends, it’s important to know that they’re all coming to the first day of school with the same blank slate. It’s a new year and a new chance to be that smiling face everyone looks forward to seeing. (Helpful hint: students who focus on their own happiness first, and not pleasing others, actually tend to be more respected and have the strongest social circles.)
A new school year means new classes and new opportunities to build friendships! Students should get to know everyone in the class. Friendships may form in the most unlikely places – some as simply as by playing the same games or laughing at a funny joke – and grow through the years to last a lifetime.
Some potential icebreakers include:
- Extracurricular activities
- Exciting classes
- Pop culture
- Favorite games and hobbies
- Family life
While it’s exciting to meet new people, don’t forget about old friends. Catch up with them and see how their summer went. It’s amazing how easily established friendships pick right up where they left off!
3. Getting to Know New Teachers
In a small school like ours, students tend to know everyone (including teachers, administrators and staff). But if your child has never had a teacher for class before, it’s always a learning experience feeling out teaching styles and personal preferences.
Building a great connection with new teachers from the first day of school builds the atmosphere for a successful school year. (Parents/guardians should get to know them, too! Get teachers’ email addresses and connect through appropriate school-communications apps so you can reach out directly with any questions or concerns.)
Learning teachers’ distinct educational approaches and philosophies makes learning easier and more comfortable. Once your child settles into their new classroom, those early jitters will certainly fade!
4. Did We Mention Breakfast?
Of course we did. But it’s THAT important.
On the first day of school, anxiety may even make it difficult to eat for some children, but it’s still important to have that first well-balanced meal of the day. It gives your child’s brain the energy it needs to learn and retain information at school, and helps to keep that spark throughout the day. Breakfast also kickstarts a child’s metabolism for a host of other healthy effects.
Some quick balanced-breakfast ideas include eggs, oatmeal, yogurt and fruit. Or how about just a bowl of cereal? Something small is much better than nothing at all!
Is Your Child Ready for the First Day of School?
Let’s get back in the routine. The first day of school starts tomorrow here at Archbishop Walsh/Southern Tier Catholic School. We can’t wait to meet your child – or see them again – after a fun-filled summer!
Of course, we’re all here to help in any way possible as we settle into a new school year.