With the school year starting up soon, you’re probably getting jittery about sending the little one(s) off for another year. If it’s your child’s first year of school, we can imagine the nervousness is only multiplied. But we’re here to encourage you not to fear! We’ve got surefire tips to help you prep your kid for their first day and if you stick to these suggestions, you will be golden.

Once your child gets their schedule or class assignment, go in before the first day to meet with the teacher. This way, your child will know at least one person and will feel calmer on their first day when they see a familiar face. With the principal’s or school official’s permission, use this time in the school to walk your child through their schedule. Doing this in a less chaotic, controlled environment for the first time will make your child feel safer when doing it themselves when school starts.

When you’re about a week away from the first day, start mentioning the positives and exciting parts about school in daily conversation so they remain present in your child’s mind, overwhelming the doubts that are surely otherwise clouding their heads. Have them chime in with things they’re excited to learn and experiences they’re excited to have.

Your kid might still continue looping back to their fears and nervous thoughts about their first day. Don’t ignore these feelings and always jump back to positives. Reassure them that nervousness is normal and that every kid is going to be nervous, just like them. If you’re worried your child might spiral into a nervous bout throughout the day, leave secret notes in their notebook, backpack, and/or lunchbox that remind them that they are in control.

To make them realize this control, you can even present their first day like a game to them: give your kid a task to complete so they have something to focus on if they are to separate from the group or find themselves wanting to be alone. Ask them to remember how many students there are in the class? What are the names of 3 other kids in the class and their favorite colors? This will give them some goals to focus on during a day that seems scary and chaotic.

If none of these suggestions apply to your child, worry not. Each child is different and there’s value in their differences. Most importantly, listen to your kid and what they’re worried about. Why are they scared or unsure? If you don’t first start the conversation and pinpoint your child’s unique fears, these tips will be as useful as a fork for drinking soup. And remember to cut yourself some slack. After all, it’s the first day of school for you too!

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