When I was going into third grade, I remember being nervous about my new teacher, Mrs. Tone. Older kids had said that she yelled a lot, and my friends and I were worried. It turned out that all of my hand-wringing was for nothing. Mrs. Tone became one of my favorite teachers of all time. It was true—she did yell a lot! But her yelling was never malicious, and she laughed a lot, too. (Older kids would never tell you that.) Mrs. Tone was lively and exuberant and just wanted so much for us to learn and to succeed.
Photo courtesy of: Christopherhall | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos
Going back to school is a stressful time for kids. Worries about the unknown start to weigh on their minds.Every year at Highlights, we receive—and answer—thousands of letters and e-mails from kids. Now that it’s August, we’re seeing a flood of back-to-school concerns. “What if I can’t keep up with the work in my new grade?” “I’ve never had to switch classes before, and I’m scared.” “My best friend and I are in different homerooms. What will we do?”
In our responses, we try to build kids’ confidence. We reassure kids that the grade they just finished has prepared them for the grade they’re about to enter. We remind them that they won’t be alone—all of their classmates will be in the same boat, with the same worries. We encourage them to have a positive attitude and to expect good things to happen.
Making friends is a huge part of the school experience.We tell kids to smile often, to say hi to others,to be kindand to laugh about the little things. A smile or a laugh puts everyone at ease. What better “friend magnet” is there?
We suggest that kids join clubs and sports, and we ask kids to keep an open mind when it comes to making friends. We tell them that friendship is like a boomerang—when you’re friendly to others, others will be friendly to you.
And as always, we point kids toward parents and other trusted adults for advice. After all, you know your kids better than anyone. How do you calm their back-to-school worries? What tips do you share? We’d love to hear about them.