Around here we’re getting ready for a BIG deal: first first day of school! All the feels, guys. ALL the feels.
Eddie mostly feels nervous. From what I’ve read online that’s totally normal. From what I remember from my own young school years experiences, that’s totally normal. From what I know of his personality, that’s totally normal. I’d be worried if he wasn’t worried about it! New things always tend to make him hesitate. What can I say, he’s his mother’s son.
So we’ve been doing our best to help him through the nerves, mostly a lot of conversation. We talk about how everyone feels nervous, even the teacher probably feels a little nervous. We talk about how it’s perfectly okay to be nervous, and how that doesn’t mean he’s not brave. We talk about other times he’s been nervous to do something for the first time (meeting his little brother at the hospital, day camp this summer, going down the big water slide on vacation) and how once he did it, it actually turned out to be great!
Another great tip I found online to help with first day jitters: practice the routine ahead of time. This made perfect sense to me, maybe because it would help me be less nervous about the first day/week and learning a new morning routine. Working through some kinks when there’s little pressure sounded ideal. Also, less unknown for sure lessens nerves, speaking from experience.
So we practiced! Sunday evening I explained what we were doing. He set out his backpack and shoes by the front door and his lunchbox on the counter. The next morning he got dressed right after breakfast, brushed his teeth, put his lunchbox (empty, I didn’t take the run-through that far) in his backpack, and was urging me out the door a full 2 minutes early! (Don’t worry, I don’t expect such enthusiasm all school year!)
We walked the route to school and along the way I tried to help him run through some scenarios he might encounter and find stressful at school. Another tip I’d found online was role playing, so I thought we’d give it a try. I asked him what he would do if someone was mean to him. I asked what he would do if he missed me and felt sad. Honestly, he was more interested in the garbage truck making its way down the street than my questions, but we got through them.
All in all it was a great exercise! I feel more prepared, and I’m hoping it’ll be less of a jolt and feel more familiar when it comes time to go through those same motions every morning next week.
Last thing on my list is a few books to read for final preparation, and then, it’s go time! I love how this rite of passage is so universal, but also so unique to each family’s experience and child’s personality. Tell me your stories! Give me your advice!
Here we go!