Updated: Aug 20
For many children, the first day of school can be extremely frightening. Some may have never attended daycare, so this may be the first time leaving mom & dad. Some may be anxious about meeting new friends or may be attending a new school. Put a scary virus on top of that, and the first day of school may be an anxious child's worst nightmare!
This year more than ever, parents need to provide extra support and adequate preparation for the first day of school. No pressure!
I've compiled a list of my favourite products, gifts and strategies to make your child's first day of school a little more calm and a lot less scary.
These smooth little stones have been used for thousands of years as a grounding tool for when both children and adults are feeling anxious, upset or overwhelmed. Great for keeping in pockets, bags, on bedside tables or dotted around the house as a therapeutic tool. Hold one in your hand and rub your thumb over it.
They’re great for children to give them that extra bit of strength if they need to be brave or to turn to if they need a calm moment, for example, on their first day of school or nursery or when they are feeling overwhelmed.
Check out Mindful Kin and the Stepping Stones Shop, which carries these beautiful stones which are perfect for back to school.
Meet this fluff ball, the little best anxiety monster! He/she is here to remind you that all will be ok. Keep him in your pocket or your backpack and pet him when you want to feel safe.
There are a lot of options on Etsy, here is my favourite:
Remind your child that you are always with them, with this simple yet adorable pocket heart. What a beautiful gift for a first day of school!
Read Symbolic Books
Parents, educators, therapists, and social workers alike have declared The Invisible String the perfect tool for coping with all kinds of separation anxiety, loss, and grief. In this relatable and reassuring contemporary classic, a mother tells her two children that they're all connected by an invisible string. "That's impossible!" the children insist, but still they want to know more: "What kind of string?" The answer is the simple truth that binds us all: An Invisible String made of love. Even though you can't see it with your eyes, you can feel it deep in your heart, and know that you are always connected to the ones you love. Does everybody have an Invisible String? How far does it reach? Does it ever go away? This heartwarming picture book for all ages explores questions about the intangible yet unbreakable connections between us, and opens up deeper conversations about love.
Recommended and adopted by parenting blogs, bereavement support groups, hospice centers, foster care and social service agencies, military library services, church groups, and educators, The Invisible String offers a very simple approach to overcoming loneliness, separation, or loss with an imaginative twist that children easily understand and embrace, and delivers a particularly compelling message in today's uncertain times.
Teachers do so much more than just teach academics. They build a sense of community within their classrooms, creating a home away from home where they make their students feel safe, included, and loved.
With its heartfelt message and colorfully whimsical illustrations, “Our Class is a Family” is a book that will help build and strengthen that class community. Kids learn that their classroom is a place where it’s safe to be themselves, it’s okay to make mistakes, and it’s important to be a friend to others. When hearing this story being read aloud by their teacher, students are sure to feel like they are part of a special family.
And currently, during such an unprecedented time when many teachers and students are not physically in the classroom due to COVID-19 school closures, it’s more important than it’s ever been to give kids the message that their class is a family. Even at a distance, they still stick together.
One of my favourite activities to do with an anxious child is to write out their worries on pieces of paper. We like to call the worry confetti. When they are done, they can tear up their worries and throw them in the air like confetti! Make an event out of it and do it the night before school. Your child will remember this for a long time.
Have any more strategies to ease first day jitters? Email us!