School is starting soon and with it may come first day anxiety and jitters for both parents and kids. Unease may be especially evident for kids starting school for the first time. Parents can do a lot to help ease the unease through story time, a bonding activity already done in millions of homes. Parents and kids read together all the time- before bed, nap time or just to spend some quiet time sharing love.
Reading with kids gets them interested in reading for the sake of reading, which is developing good school and life habits. PBS Parents recommends these books to read with kids to help with school anxiety:
Little School by Beth Norling
From drop-off to pick-up, this book easily captures a typical school day for young children. While bathroom breaks and snack times fill any youngster’s schedule, the simple yet organized illustrations depicting 20 different preschoolers emphasize that each child processes and experiences these events differently. This book provides children of all personality traits with appropriate skills and strategies for navigating preschool.
First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg and Judith DuFour Love
“I’m not going.” “I don’t know anyone.” “It will be hard.” All things Sarah Jane Hartwell says before her first day of school. Her father eventually convinces her to attend, despite her gut-wrenching—and completely valid—fears about starting school. At times you’ll want to laugh, cry, hug her, or shake her, but you’ll always root for Sarah Jane as she realizes through her first-day encounters that school isn’t so bad after all.
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
This heartwarming book transcends the genre of “back to school” and serves as a tool for learning about and understanding separation anxiety. Via Chester Raccoon, children learn that a parent’s love remains in their absence and that it’s okay to spend some time apart—especially for something as important as school. A kiss from his mother on the palm of his hand serves Chester as an intimate and soothing strategy for coping with separation anxiety. This book is the perfect conversation starter for discussing your own ways of combating separation anxiety.
School Days Around the World by Catherine E. Chambers
Seeing school through a real person’s eyes can help children feel more comfortable going themselves. This book lets students share, through their own perspectives, what a day is like at their school. Along with lessons about culture, diversity and geography, real photographs and personal anecdotes help prepare them mentally for what to expect and how they may feel.
How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? by Jane Yolen
Super duo Jane Yolen and illustrator Mark Teague tackle the topic of starting school with their beloved dinosaur series. With a friendly cast of familiar (and some not-so-familiar) dinosaurs, this book focuses on acceptable behavior while at school. Some children find themselves in trouble because they’re not sure how to act appropriately in a classroom setting, but with these quick-witted rhymes and silly examples of dinosaurs mimicking human behavior, children can begin to understand the boundaries of schoolyard conduct.