The First Days of School: 5 Tips to Starting Off Right— The first day of school is fun and exciting for students and parents. But for many kids, starting school can be a stressful and challenging time. A child may have an especially difficult time if she is attending a new school. To start the school year off on the right foot, I offer parents, children and teachers these five tips for school success. As an added bonus, there is a list of 9 fabulous “First Days of School” writing prompts for kids at the end of this page.
School Success Tip #1 – Do Something for your Child to Celebrate the Start of a New School Year
To start the school year off right, parents can give their child a special back to school gift. Some thoughtful gift ideas are a unique bookmark to use in their school books, a special journal, or a distinctive pen or pencil for writing. (Sometimes the smallest gift can mean the world to a child.)
Another great idea is to write your child a letter or poem that they can read on their first day of school or during the first week of school. Then, at the end of the week, schedule a special get together to review the poem and your child’s first week of school and discuss how things went for them.
Tip #2 – Stress Relievers
Children need to learn stress management tools so that they can maintain a healthy balance in their day. A few simple activities for managing stress include art activities, physical exercise, game playing, dancing and singing. Or, parents might just give their child a great big hug and treat her to a special night of quality parent-child time together.
It is vital to teach kids that by handling stress positively we can live better and enjoy greater success in every area of our lives, including school.
Tip #3 – Monitor Child’s Behavior and Encourage Self Care
A major contributor to a child’s learning and school success is helping children learn to identify when they are feeling overwhelmed, worn out or in need of rejuvenation. Behaviors such as losing one’s temper, overreacting or disinterest in one’s favorite hobbies indicate a need for self-care.
Self-care is taking actions with the intention of improving or restoring one’s mental and emotional health. Some people also call this “Me Time”. Whatever you call it, children can practice activities that will restore balance and wellness to their day.
A wonderful example of a self-care activity for kids is to play games outdoors. By doing so children will get exercise, use their imaginations, benefit from playing with friends, and regain a sense of balance.
Tip #4 – Journal Keeping: A Great Tool for Overcoming Fears & Anxieties
Returning to school can present a child with challenges such as fear and anxiety about making new friends, being accepted by others, being liked their teacher(s), being successful, and the threat of bullies. Kids need to know how to deal with these fears and how to overcome them.
One of my favorite solutions to overcoming personal fears and anxiety is journal keeping. When a child keeps a journal, she is able to record her feelings about events in her life and work through those negative feelings related to those events. This is an especially useful tool to use before the start of school and throughout the entire school year.
There are many writing journals for kids, and I suggest that you choose a special one that suits your child’s personality to help him or her begin a journaling practice. Of course, you could always have your child use a simple notebook as a journal or take things a step further and create a brilliant homemade journal together.
First Day of School Writing Ideas
Below you will find a listing of some useful back-to-school journal prompts for kids. Use these writing ideas to help your child get the new school year off to the best start possible.
- What excites you most about starting school?
- Do you have concerns about beginning school? What are they?
- What do you like the best about school and why?
- What do you like the least and why?
- How do you feel about your new teachers(s)?
- Are there worries you have about starting school?
- Do you feel comfortable beginning school? Would you like to take a tour of it (again) or go over your schedule? Is there anything else you need to make the experience more enjoyable?
- Is there a friend or a buddy you can count on to help you through the first week of school? Explain who and why.
- Are there ideas you’d like to share about how to make your new school year the best that it can be?
Here’s to a spectacular new school year for your wonderful child!
Until next time, journal on…
Journal Buddies journals for kids are available from Amazon.com.