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First Day Fear or First Day Anxiety can be a normal occurrence for a lot of children, especially during the first few years in school. It’s a totally new environment, complete with new people, new classmates, new experiences to deal with. When someone, especially children, finds themselves in a new situation for the first time, it can be quite daunting and scary. We’ve all had these moments, like the first day in college, the first day at work, the first day of marriage, and even the first day of having a child. If we can feel a bit of anxiety during these “firsts,” imagine the dread our kids feel when they go to school for the very first time for a particular grading period.
And while we can always rely on our kids to eventually “deal with it,” our guidance can always be a helping hand not just to speed up the process, but to help them fully understand and conquer the situation. Thankfully, it’s not as difficult as it seems. Here are some tips you can follow to help your child conquer their First Day Fear.
Encourage them to pursue their passions. This might be a tangential advice considering the context of this article. However, you might be surprised to learn of the benefits this can do to your child. When you encourage your child to pursue their talents and passions, you set them up in a position of learning. You help your child open up to new experiences by encouraging them to pursue and try new things that pique their interest. This can slowly turn into a “process” for them to learn that new experiences can be good if they just try, and these include first days of school.
~When you have the budget, try to encourage your child to take up lessons in the craft that they’re interested in. Try to start with home lessons, and then slowly have them take their lessons in a new place with new students. When they do this, you balance the “anxiety” of being with new people with the “desire” to learn about their interests.
~If possible, try to have your child enroll in lessons about their crafts and passions at school. This can be in the form of weekend or summer classes, or even encouraging them to join a club with regular meetings. This allows your child to be open to new experiences, and to enjoy their craft with like-minded individuals. If you’re worried about paying for these services in cash, don’t worry as there are a lot of programs and classes you can avail and conduct online payment. Don’t be too hasty, though, and accumulate debt instead. Pay your credit card bill and other pending bills first before securing these lessons for your child.
Let them experience the school before classes. If possible, try taking your kid with you to school before classes even begin. If there are orientations for parents, or during the payment of fees, try taking your child with you and tour them around campus.
~Letting your child see their classroom, or touring them around the canteen, bathrooms, and corridors around the school will give them a sense of familiarity with the location. Their classmates and teachers might be unfamiliar, but being in a place they know at least can help calm them down.
~Introduce them to their teachers in the school year. If the faculty room accepts tours, you can talk to teachers there and introduce your child to them. This establishes their teachers as secondary parents and guardians, and your child might find themselves more comfortable in their presence.
Share your stories. Sometimes, one of the best ways to help kids deal with First Day Fears is knowing you’ve dealt with these, too. It helps to remember that sometimes kids don’t share with their parents, and that kids get scared of situations, are because they sometimes believe you didn’t feel how they’ve felt at their age. If they know that you got scared at some point, and yet you’ve become the strong person they rely on today, it might boost their confidence and help them see they’re also capable of conquering First Day Fears.
~Try to avoid a bragging tone, and instead calmly explain – in a way that’s like your nightly storytelling routine – that you’ve also dealt with First Day Fears. Try to find similarities between you and your child’s experiences, so they know you’ve dealt with exactly what they’re feeling.
~Try to find a way to share how you’ve dealt with your First Day Fears without overwhelming your child. Try to share simple tips such as “praying,” or “taking deep breaths,” or “thinking about making new friends.” We can’t expect our kids to immediately understand what we’re talking about, so we have to help them imagine the situation.
A professional might be a good helping hand. You don’t always have to conquer these things alone, and sometimes professional help might be of assistance to you and your child. As a parent, do understand that seeking professional help isn’t a sign of weakness. Parenting isn’t an easy thing to do, and sometimes there are dimensions of parenting and our child’s behavior that we can’t fully understand without professional assistance – seeking help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of a willingness to learn. Likewise, having a professional look at your child isn’t a sign of their weakness, too. It’s a sign of your desire as a parent to help your child get to know themselves better. With this in mind,
~Taking your child to the school’s guidance counselor can help them conquer their First Day Fear, especially if they’re scared of teachers and other adults. The counselor can help your child be more comfortable in the presence of the school, and they can help your child find ways to treat the school as a home of their own without being overwhelmed.
~A child psychologist might be able to help you and your child dissect their feelings and identify the root cause of First Day Fear. This can greatly help you in finding ways to help them cope with their anxieties.
Help Your Kids Conquer First Day Fears
If you’ve noticed, much of the tips above don’t just deal with conquering your kids’ fear of first days, but also methods that try to boost their confidence. That’s because a huge part of dealing with First Day Fears has a lot to do with your child establishing their capacity to deal with new situations that can be scary at first.
With the above tips, it helps to remember that your kids are more than capable of dealing with their First Day Fears and anxieties. However, it doesn’t hurt to provide them with a helping hand that boosts their confidence in this journey. Sometimes, our kids just need to know we’re always there to help them, and that we believe in their ability to conquer their fears and be the best we can be.