The first day back at school can be both exciting and nerve-racking for all involved. As a parent, you might be looking forward to the almost never-ending holiday to come to an end, but are concerned about what challenges might wait around the corner.
Students might worry about making friends, academics or sports to name a few. Even the educators on the other side might be concerned about the new group of fresh faces who will be walking through the door and what challenges they might face while trying to impart knowledge the best they can.
Even though it is a fresh start we always carry some of last year’s baggage into the new year with us. We decided to put together a list of icebreakers that you can share with your child, to make the start of the school year easier.
Pebble in my Pocket:
If your child suffers from some separation anxiety or nerves seem to get the better of them, maybe try the pebble in my pocket trick. All you do is find two very similar pebbles, you keep one in your pocket and the child keeps the other in their pocket. Tell them if at any time they feel a little nervous or are missing you they give their pebble a little squeeze. Having a concrete reminder of their connection to you might help take the edge off.
Share in excitement
A nice wonderful talking point to get more comfortable with classmates is to share excitement of the new year. It may be a new subject, a new teacher, going to grade 7 or even a new extramural activity. People who have anxiety or are more introverted may experience finding a topic to talk about very stressful. Keep in mind everyone is starting a new year, so focusing on the exciting aspects and sharing in that is a wonderful icebreaker.
Tell me about your…?
Building on our previous point, the simple sentence “Tell me about your…” is a very powerful one. Asking someone else about something they can talk about with ease helps fight those first day jitters. Whether it may be “tell me about your holiday” or “tell me about your pets” keep it simple and really show interest. And you may even find some things you have in common.
Whether your child is sporty or more cultural inclined, encourage them to sign up for things. Comradery goes a long way in building bonds and making friends. It is also important to have FUN during the school year.
Worries in My Pocket:
The COVID pandemic has taken its toll on young and old. This can filter into many worries about starting a new year of school. A great way to help is to sit your child down and talk about what is worrying them. Write it down on a piece of paper and tell them you will be keeping it in your pocket all day. That way you can help carry their worries while they are in school, so they don’t have to carry them alone.
Go in with a positive mindset
This may sound simple, but it could be one of the hardest things to do. Ever heard of the old saying about the two wolves? It goes something like this…
“There is a battle is between two “wolves” inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
“Which wolf wins?!”
“The one you feed.”
Though this tip may sound similar to ‘Share in excitement’, it is more about your child’s own mindset which is sometimes extremely difficult for a child to understand. Try and explain to them that focusing on the negative aspects will only make every problem seem more daunting. On the other hand keeping positive when you face adversity will turn a struggle into a strength.