Heading back to school can bring about a lot of nerves for children of all ages. A new teacher, new peer group, or a new school can turn even the most confident child (or teen!) into a ball of nerves. So we wanted to gather some of our tried and true confidence-building tips for you to share with your son or daughter ahead of the new school year.
Just having these conversations now can encourage them to hold their head a little bit higher that first week! So much of our children’s confidence comes from being encouraged at home, and beyond all of the parent orientation nights and school supply lists — we, as moms, can use all the help we can get, too!
1. Practice getting dressed and wearing school clothes.
If they’re starting a new school, it might be a good idea to have a trial day of getting dressed, eating breakfast, even driving to school. A little “walk through” calms nerves and makes children feel more prepared for the first day. (And lets you know if you need to add a little more time to the morning routine!) A friend of mine even takes “first day” pictures during these run throughs so things aren’t rushed the actual first day of school.
2. Memorize a few conversation starters.
This might seem a little silly, but stick with me. Having a few conversation starters in their back pocket can really help shy children when they get nervous in the cafeteria or sitting with someone new. Questions like, “what teacher do you have? Did you go anywhere this summer? Do you have any brothers or sisters at the school? Role playing potential conversations with peers also helps. You might want to glean some tips from this conversation etiquette post we recently shared.
3. Remind them they can ask for help.
Children with first day jitters are often worried about not knowing what to do or where to go. Assure them they aren’t supposed to know everything and can always ask the teacher or other students for help.
4. Practice good posture and eye contact.
Little things like sitting up straight and looking people in the eye can go a long way in conveying confidence. Not only that, but these habits can also make us more approachable to new friends and appear more engaged in the classroom. A win/win!
When we get nervous, we often look down — this goes for adults, too. So we should always be encouraging our children to look others (especially the teacher!) in the eye when speaking. This is not only respectful, it projects confidence. If your child has a hard time with this, pass along our favorite trick: Look at the space directly between someone’s eyes.
5. Encourage them to reach out to the new student.
One way to increase confidence is to help others in something you already know. Encourage your child to reach out to a new student, introduce himself and maybe even show him or her around. Helping others takes the focus off ourselves and onto others – which can help so much to ease first day jitters!
6. Read a great book.
Books often bring about great family conversations, sometimes revealing hesitations or worries you didn’t even know your child was holding internally. Talking through things is one of the best things we can do to ease nerves. Check out our back to school themed books that might help with first day jitters or more conversations. The Kissing Hand is sweet for little ones.
Remember we have a confidence-building etiquette e-course that’s designed for girls ages 11-17 and covers topics like friendship, social media, and inclusivity. We’d love to help set your daughter up for success ahead of the new school year! Use code DSG30 for 30% off here and watch anytime!