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First Day at Elementary School

Calming Your Child's Anxiety About The First Day Of School

New faces, new classroom, new schedule... the start of school is exciting and scary for parents and children.

To calm your child's anxiety, do some summertime prep. If your child is entering kindergarten or a new school, play at the school's playground several times during the summer to create a sense of familiarity for your child. Consider making some playdates with new classmates. Talk about the positive aspects of starting school, such as making new friends, seeing old friends, and starting new projects.

But don't build up unrealistic expectations of how wonderful a new school will be, cautions Edward L. Schor, M.D., editor of "Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5-12." Instead, convey a general sense of optimism about how things will go. Remind your child that other children might also be nervous and that the teacher is there to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable.

Family involvement is critical to academic success. The nonprofit organization First Day of School America suggests celebrating the first day of school, possibly organizing a potluck dinner with several families and even some teachers. Buy a new eraser or pen for your child to take to the first day of school, and tuck a note into her lunchbox as a reminder that you are with her in spirit.

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CeReality: 5 Families, 5 Stories, 1 Critical Meal

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