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On the opening day of school I noticed Sarah, a new first grader, looking very upset.I saw that her shoelaces were untied.Would you like me to tie those for you?, I asked. Yes, she said with tears in her eyes,  “I used to know how, but I don’t know today!”When Sara...

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Tips to Help Ease School Anxiety

Posted by: Connie McCarthy on Sep 10, 2009 in Elementary School, Connie McCarthy


Connie McCarthy
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On the opening day of school I noticed Sarah, a new first grader, looking very upset.

I saw that her shoelaces were untied."Would you like me to tie those for you?", I asked. "Yes", she said with tears in her eyes,  “I used to know how, but I don’t know today!”

When Sarah said, “I used to know how, but I don’t know today.”  I recognized that she was really telling me “I’m so overwhelmed that I forgot skills I already knew.” 

School anxiety is a very real issue for some children (and some parents, too!) Here are four effective tips that have helped my students, and my own children, ease their school “jitters.”

  • Let your child bring a small photograph of you, your family, or even the family pet to school. If their teacher allows, your child can keep it on their desk or table. Sometimes seeing a familiar face is enough to keep him or her calm.
  • Let your child take a special, small stuffed animal to school.Make sure your child knows that the toy should stay in their backpack. Often, just knowing that a favorite cuddly thing is close by can be comforting.
  • Put a special note or sticker in your child’s lunchbox, and let him or her know to “look” at lunch for a special “something” you left in the lunchbox.
  • Read stories together about going to school for the first time.Two great ones are “Grover Goes to School,” by Dan Elliot, and “The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn.
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Comments

  1. Posted by - Lisa Cartolano on Sep. 30, 2009

    These are helpful tips. I also like "The Kissing Hand" as a great story for first-time students. I recently wrote an article entitled, "Easing Back to School Jitters"; the link is here:

    http://www.littleones.com/learningcorner/school-smarts-and-teacher-tips/easing-back-to-school-jitters/

    I hope it helps!
    Lisa Cartolano

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