With the school year fast approaching, along with all the first day jitters, kids can feel very anxious about starting a new grade, making new friends and having a new teacher. I know this first-hand, both as a mom and an elementary school teacher in Brooklyn, NY. Fortunately, there are lots of books to help transition children into the new academic year.
Take your child to the library or bookstore, and pull out some of these titles. Let him or her help decide which ones to read and in the process, initiate a conversation about how he may be feeling about the new school year. This will make your child feel empowered.
Some of the titles I recommend to my students’ parents during orientation day:
It’s Time for School, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt
This is a story about a typical child facing first day jitters and stalling by asking his mother silly questions. She responds with simple humor while trying to get him moving.
Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary
This story is about siblings and how their first days of school are very different since they all attend different grades and have different personalities. Ramona is excited about going back to school, while her brother Beezus doesn’t have such a great day and things become a bit hectic.
The Night Before Kindergarten and The Night Before 1st Grade by Natasha Wing
As a teacher, I love this series. Natasha Wing captures all of the emotions that children go through at this time in their lives.These help kids understand that they are not alone in having first day fears and that other kids have felt the same way, and survived!
Dora Goes to School by Leslie Valdes
Who doesn’t know and love Dora and Boots? It’s always comforting for children to see familiar characters going through the same challenges as they are. Even Dora has to go to school! For bilingual children, the book has several Spanish words, with their meanings defined.
Read related: Preparing Your Child for Middle School
And here are a few of my all-time favorites:
- Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
- Timothy Goes to School by Rosemary Wells
- My First Day of School by P.K. Hallinan
- Boomer Goes to School by Constance W. McGeorge
- The Best Teacher in the World by Bernice Chardiet and Grace Maccarone
- The Night Before Big School by E.J. Sullivan
All of these books can help facilitate conversations with your kids about first day jitters. Also, by getting kids into a regular bedtime and wake-up routine a couple of weeks before school starts, you’ll get them feeling ready for the big day. My kids enjoy going shopping for their school supplies and we have a big back to school party with their friends. These are great ways to help children transition into the new school year and be excited about all the great learning experiences ahead.
I make it a point to begin counting down our days in school, both at home, with my own kids and in the classroom with my elementary grade students. On the 100th day of school, we celebrate our accomplishments during the first 100 days. It’s always great to see how much we have learned, and how we have grown. These titles can help with that celebration:
- Emily’s First 100 Days of School by Rosemary Wells
- The Night Before 100th Day of School by Natasha Wing
Here’s wishing all of our children a wonderful school year, and kudos to all their parents for keeping that love of learning alive!