by Katrina Morse for Family Reading Partnership
Fall is a time of new beginnings for children and families. A new school or classroom, new routines, friends, and challenges can all bring out some strong emotions in kids. Your child may be worried and excited at the same time and feel a range of emotions each school day. You, as a parent, may feel the same way!
How can you support your child during these changes? Be present and understanding when your child talks about his or her day. Bits of information about your child’s day may come up during play, bedtime, or on the way to school in the morning. Keep things casual and comfortable and over time you’ll be able to talk more about feelings. How are you feeling about your child starting school? Take care of yourself too.
When everything else is new and different, it is comforting for your child to have some things that are familiar and predictable. You could develop a morning routine of having breakfast together or walking to school or to the bus stop with neighbors. After school, maybe try an activity that is calming and relaxing and do it every day: take the dog for a walk, pet your cat, have a friend over to play, have a snack, listen to a book read aloud, listen to music, write a story, or draw a picture. Or your child might need some active time outside after school to release some built up energy.
Reading picture books about starting school and the feelings that go along with being in a new situation provide opportunities to talk together about what your child is experiencing. Helping your child become more self-aware is process. Listen to your child more than talk and be open-minded and supportive. Here are some books to read aloud to young children before the new school year begins.
Books about starting school:
- “Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten” by Joseph Slate, illustrated by Ashley Wolff
- “Kindergarten, Here I Come!” by D.J. Steinberg, illustrated by Mark Chambers
- “My First Day of School” by Ellen Crimi-Trent and Roger Priddy
- “Kindergarten Rocks!” by Katie Davis
- “On the First Day of Kindergarten” by Tish Rabe, illustrated by Laura Hughes
Books about emotions:
- “The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn
- “The Invisible Boy” by Trudy Ludwig, illustrated by Patrice Barton
- “Glad Monster, Sad Monster” by Ed Emberley and Anne Miranda
- “Too Shy for Show and Tell” by Beth Bracken
- “My Very Own Space” by Pippa Goodhart, illustrated by Rebecca Crane