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Tips to Ease the First-Day Jitters

Author: CHKD Medical Group
Published Date: Monday, August 14, 2017

By Dr. Carly Morrison-Jones, Town Center Pediatrics

Children may feel nervous or anxious about going back to school. Help your child get off to a happy, healthy start by being upbeat and positive when talking about school, and remind her of the times she succeeded despite feeling nervous at first. Explain that there are probably a lot of other students feeling the same way and encourage her to express her feelings without judgment.

Help ease the first-day jitters with these tips:

  • Go to the open house at your child’s school to see the classroom and meet the teacher.
  • Rehearse walking to the bus stop and saying goodbye.
  • Make preparations like back-to-school shopping a fun celebration.
  • Get as much as possible done the night before school to ease the morning rush; pack lunches, book bags and lay out clothes ahead of time. Consider designating a spot in your home where your children can keep their school items so they know where to find them in the morning.
  • For older children, create a schedule of weekly activities and a daily checklist of items needed for school.
  • Consider getting a family calendar and placing it where everyone can see it. If you have older children, consider downloading a digital calendar the whole family can share.
  • Sleep is important. Adjust bedtime and wake-up times now, so your child will be back to a routine before school starts, and make sure your child is getting an adequate amount of sleep each night. View a list of sleep requirements by age here. Getting a good night’s sleep improves attention, behavior, learning, memory, and mental and physical health.
  • Make sure your child is eating a well-balanced diet. Food fuels the brain and vitamin C helps strengthen the immune system.
  • You can also provide goals and positive reinforcement to get your child through the transition period of returning or starting school, such as stickers at the end of each day or ice cream at the end of the week. Goals and positive reinforcement can be adjusted for your child’s age.

Taking steps to ensure your child is as prepared as possible, physically and mentally, for the first day of school will help make the transition easier for the whole family. For more health tips for school-age children, visit our Health Library.



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About CHKD Medical Group

Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.