First Day Jitters

Stretching out your separation times gradually several months prior to the start of school is one strategy to ease kindergarten fears. The goal is to slowly help your child become more comfortable with adults besides immediate family and realize they can survive without their parents present. Here are some ideas that may help: 


Help your child make a friend: Knowing a classmate can minimize first day jitters, so if possible, help your child meet a peer before school starts. Ask parents or coaches in the area if they know a kindergarten-aged child who will be attending the school.


Put on a happy face: Your child takes cues from you, so stay calm and show confidence in them. Hold back those tears till you’re out of sight.


Practice social skills at home: Role-play common social scenarios your child will encounter at school, like how to meet someone, start up a conversation, ask if they can play in a game, or ask a teacher for help. Children learn social skills best if you show and don’t tell them what to do, so practice one new skill at a time until your child can perform the skill without you.


For most children, separation anxieties are normal and will pass. The key is to watch for a gradual increase in confidence and a diminishment of worries. If the anxiety continues or increases, check in with the teacher or counselor to see if they have suggestions to help your child adjust. Just remember that the adjustment process may take anywhere from a day to several weeks, so be patient. Helping your child learn to say goodbye and handle life confidently without you is just one more important developmental milestone and a part of growing up.