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Challenge: Back to School

The First Day of School Fears: What I learned from years of “First days”

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I am the product of many big first days of school. I had the privilege of moving with my family quite a few times as a child, so I can remember almost every first day. I am hoping all this “personal growth” as a child has paid off as I prepare to send my first child off to kindergarten. Here is my advice to him that could be helpful to you and your child as you buy that new backpack and prepare to pack the first lunch:

  1. Being scared is normal.
    • "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do."--Eleanor Roosevelt
    • They are scared, too. It is everyone’s first day when you start Kindergarten, so you know everyone is in the same boat. Look for people who want to paddle with you in that boat, and you will likely find at least one person to call a “friend” for the year.
  2. Some of these strangers will be your friends in a few days/weeks
    • The best way to make new friends is to be a good friend. This is just like your little sister trying new things – if he/she looks scared, say something kind and you will get off to a great start.
    • As you learn your new friends names learn what they like and dislike and tell them what you like and dislike to find common interests. Chances are they like the same book, food or game you do.
  3. Ask if you can join kids playing
    • Most of the time they will say, “yes.”
    • If they say, “no” – there is a whole class of other friends to play with, look for the person who may also be standing without a group. Remember the “ask what they like” idea, and see what you both like to do when the class gets to go outside.
  4. Smile and Make Eye Contact. It makes people feel good when they feel like they can talk to you.
  5. We all have a bad day, so if someone isn’t nice they might just be having a bad day. Changes are always hard on the first day, but soon it will become routine for you and that person who likely is just trying to tackle first day jitters.

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