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The First Day of School

First Day Blues

The first day of school is an exciting event for many students. Meeting new friends and being able to exchange ideas and stories of their summer vacations with their classmates, friends, and teachers are just some of the things that many students look forward to this time of the year.

However, for some students, the first day of school is a daunting and scary prospect. This is especially true for first time students or those that are moving to a new grade level, a new school, or even to a new city.

To make things easier for parents, here are some tips that can help ease the first day blues:

1. Practice the first day routine – kids need to reset their sleep and wake cycles for the new school year. Start practicing the new sleeping and waking hours at least a week before school starts. If you’re not too busy, start practicing the commute as well. Having kids familiarize themselves with the new routine helps them adjust easier to their new roles as students.

2. Get to know the new surroundings – bring the kids to the school. This is especially helpful for those who will be starting school for the first time or for those moving to a new school. Schedule a day with the school where kids can come in and see the school for a few hours. This will make the first day a little less daunting because at least your child knows where to things are and what to expect. Easing them into their new surroundings can also develop more confidence and excitement for them to start school.

3. Involve them in all the preparations – bring your children to the book store to buy their new supplies. Children tend to get more excited about going to school when they have the opportunity to become part of the decision making process. You can even involve them in planning their baon menu! Have fun with this part of the preparations!

4. Share your own personal experiences – share your own first day stories with your children. Tell them that you were just as scared but you were able to find school enjoyable. Highlight positive experiences such as making new friends or learning new and exciting things in your science class or your arts classes. Having your child know how you were as a student helps them feel more confident about their own experience. Remember, children take their cue from their parents so you projecting a positive experience will help make your child more comfortable about the idea of going to school.

5. Know when to seek help – there will be some students who, despite all the preparation, still have negative feelings or even experience ‘school refusal’. Consult with your school’s guidance counselor so that they can help address these matters. You can also consult with psychologists who specialize in children and adolescents to help them work through their issues, attitudes, and feelings about going to school.

In many cultures, including ours, education is such an important part of growing up and being successful in life. The first day blues can be overcome with proper help, support, and guidance from parents, school personnel, and other professionals. We hope that you can try out these tips. Let us know how they work out for you.

Raphael Inocencio is a founding partner at Better Steps Psychology, Inc. His research interests include child and adolescent issues, anxiety, and positive interventions. You can book a consultation with him and other professionals at Better Steps Psychology by sending us an email: wellness@bettersteps.org or calling us at (02) 216 1586 or (0917) 894 3988.

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