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Written by: Dr. Ellen Wolock, Division of Early Childhood Education
New Jersey Department of Education
Young children can experience anxiety about starting school. Some children are nervous about what is going to happen. Others are completely relaxed, but when they start school, they are not emotionally prepared, and may have a difficult time in the beginning of the school year. Preparing yourself and your child will go a long way in creating a smooth transition.
Before school starts, begin to talk about school positively. Tell your child about some of the enjoyable things that will happen like playing with friends, playing outside, and reading new stories. Also, visit the school together, and meet the teacher. Make the teacher aware of your child’s personality traits and his/her interests.
If possible, find out who is in your child’s class and try to arrange some play time. Your child will be more comfortable knowing someone in the class. If your child will be taking a bus, be sure to practice the bus route together. Take advantage of orientations or meetings to get information about your child’s school and to understand what to expect.
Within a week before you start, remind your child about what will happen, who will be there and most importantly, that you will see him/her at the end of the day. Make sure that a consistent school bedtime routine is in effect a week before school starts, to minimize the adjustment if the child needs to go to sleep earlier in order to wake up earlier.
Some Simple Ways to support your Child on the First Day: