"Don't be shy... it is better to be proud and laugh loud than to watch the world pass you by!"
"Don't be shy... it is better to be proud and laugh loud than to watch the world pass you by!"

Can you remember back to the grade school years and those first day jitters?  If you were not a shy child – lucky you! If you were a shy child, then you probably remember every anxious moment leading up to that first day. Shy people really want to be socially involved, unlike introverts who love being alone.  For children, this can be very painful.  They think about being social, they want to be in the center of the crowd laughing and chatting with new friends, but they cannot.  Many preschool and kindergartners may still experience separation anxiety and stranger anxiety, which makes starting school even harder for them.

Some tips for helping your child start that first day of school:

  •  If possible, do your best to arrange a meeting with the new teacher. Teachers care for their students and will do their best to ease the anxieties of first day jitters.
  • Call the school to arrange a short tour. Try to do the tour and meet the teacher on separate days.
  • Role play with your child. You can be the teacher and guide your child to make eye contact and smile.  Then you be the child and he/she can be the teacher.  Let them see how you would approach another new student and initiate the conversation.
  • Always let your child know that regardless of how their day will go – all will be well and a big hug will be waiting for them at the end of the day.
  • Make a special First Day of School Dinner! That first day of school every year is a big deal and should be acknowledged and celebrated. And, children love traditions!

Most of all, help your child understand that even if that day does not go as he/she wishes – they’ll always have another chance to try again!

If you have a successful tip or two for helping a shy child, please feel free to share!

--Debbie Caldwell