I worked as a counselor at a school for many years before I decided to become a freelance writer. One of the things I always enjoyed was watching the excitement the kids brought in as they strutted down the hall with their new backpacks and fun clothes. And then there were the kids who were clinging to their parents, not wanting to let go.
Back-to-school jitters can haunt the best of us, especially if it’s a new school. The school counselors, were always prepared during the first weeks of school to help parents, teachers, and children who were dealing with back to school fears, separation anxiety, and “I don’t want to be here” tantrums. Anxiety is a common problem experienced by both adults and children so don’t be too alarmed if you see minor signs of it in your child but don’t ignore them. Hopefully, below you will find some books and tips on how to help your child.
For many kids, the anxiety comes from fear of the unknown. There are lots of ways to help ease your child’s fears. I shared some of these tips over at my blog in the article Fear Busting Strategies, and here’s a simple activity you can do with your child to reassure them on their first week of school.
Some kids internalize their anxiety, so make sure to ask your kids probing questions. Not just yes and no questions. Questions like: What do you think __ grade will be like? What are you most excited about? What are you least excited about? What worries/concerns do your friends have about starting a new school? (If they have friends in the same boat, this may help them verbalize their own fears by sharing their friend’s perspective, and it also gives you an opportunity to say, “Can you relate to those feelings?”)
Here are some fun, silly, and encouraging books to help ease back to school jitters that your child maybe feeling (and other kinds of anxiety, too!):
And if you’re still needing some more ideas check out our Back to School Headquarters: Everything you need for back to school!
Books to Ease Back to School Jitters 1 of 9
I have personally handpicked these books for you to enjoy with your child in the hopes of calming their back to school fears and anxieties they maybe feeling.
Wilma Jean the Worry Machine 2 of 9
Wilma Jean the Worry Machine by Julia Cook
This fun and humorous book addresses the problem of anxiety in a way that relates to children of all ages. It offers creative strategies for parents and teachers to use that can lessen the severity of anxiety. The goal of the book is to give children the tools they need to feel more in control of their anxiety.
I Am Too Absolutely Small for School 3 of 9
I Am Too Absolutely Small for School (Charlie and Lola) by Lauren Child
Lola is not so sure about school. After all, why would she need to count higher than ten when she never eats more than ten cookies at a time? Once again, it's up to ever-patient big brother Charlie to persuade Lola that school is worthwhile — and that her invisible friend, Soren Lorensen, will be welcome, too.
My Brave Year of Firsts 4 of 9
My Brave Year of Firsts by Jaime Lee Curtis
Whether Frankie's learning to ride a bike, love her first dog, make new friends (her very first twins), or help out her dad, she discovers that trying new things is how she grows — and that being brave enough to do so is what growing up is all about.
First Day Jitters 5 of 9
First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
Everyone knows that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach just before diving into a new situation. Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn't want to start over at a new school. She doesn't know anybody, and nobody knows her. It will be awful. She just knows it.
Who’s Afraid of Fourth Grade? 6 of 9
Who's Afraid of Fourth Grade? (Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo: Super Special) by Nancy E. Krulik
At first, Katie and her friends can't wait to enter the fourth grade! But with the pressure of new classes, teachers, and friends, Katie isn't so sure she likes it after all.
My New Teacher and Me 7 of 9
My New Teacher and Me! by Al Yankovic
Yes, this is by good ol' "Weird Al" Yankovic. This book is an uproarious back-to-school delight. Dazzling wordplay and sparkling rhyme combine in a unique appreciation of the rewards of unabashed originality and the special joy of viewing the world gently askew.
Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? 8 of 9
Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? by Audrey Vernick
This is a hilarious look at first-day-of-school jitters.
My Teacher Sleeps in School 9 of 9
My Teacher Sleeps in School (Picture Puffins) by Leatie Weiss
This is a great book to help children realize that teachers are people too, which in return will calm their fears about scary teachers.
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