First Day Jitters


Ready for school to start? Beginning the new school year can be a time of great excitement as well as anxiety. Help calm your child’s worries (and your own) with these tips.

Look ahead and anticipate. When we have an idea of what to expect, we can better prepare and respond more successfully. The foresight needed to look ahead and plan is challenging for many children. Speaking with your child about the upcoming school year and discussing what excites them as well as what makes them anxious can help normalize these worries. It is sometimes difficult for children (and adults) to recognize that they're scared. Explaining that fear is normal during a period of change can help your child become more self-aware and open to strategies that may help them feel more comfortable. Consider making a "worry list" with your child. Brainstorm potential solutions and strategies to help them feel better prepared for school.


Build confidence. Children who are confident tend to feel less anxious. While we can't teach confidence, as parents and caregivers we can nurture this quality by providing positive reinforcement, maintaining realistic expectations and reflecting on challenges that our children have successfully overcome. It is important to acknowledge perseverance and the skills used to overcome an obstacle, in addition to the outcome. Instead of saying "It's great you got an A on that project!" respond with "You worked really hard on that project and your hard work certainly paid off!".

Ease into the routine. Switching from a summer to a school schedule can be stressful for everyone at home. Avoid first-day-of-school chaos by practicing your family's routine a few days in advance. Set the alarm clock, go through your morning rituals, and leave the house on time. Routines help children feel comfortable, and establishing a solid school routine will make the first day of school run more smoothly. 

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Set goals.  Together with your child, write out a list of goals that he or she wants to achieve for the upcoming school year. Does your son or daughter want to make the soccer team, improve their grade in science, or participate more in class? Setting attainable goals and writing them down can help your child think about the necessary steps and planning involved with achieving that goal. Creating this list can be a driving and motivating force to help your child reach their goals during the school year. 


Every student has a different learning style. For an individualized plan customized to your child's needs, please contact Dana Aussenberg at or email