As we get ready to begin a new school year (how did that happen?), here are a few books recommendations to help your child cope with some of the uncertainity a new year, teacher, or school can bring. Since many Early Childhood programs move children based on age rather than a school year these books can be used throughout the year to help ease the uncertainity of transition and the fear of separation from you.
My very first recommendation for a young child who is starting school for the first time is to create a book of your own for your child. You can make it as simple as a few pictures tied together with a string to a book you create on your computer. To make it last, I recommend you either cover it in clear contact paper or laminate it. If you laminate it and have an infant make sure to round off the edges so they don't get cut or poked. You can add the names of people, and include pictures of where they are going, if you like. In my experience, ECE classrooms that allow a few pictures or a homemade book of home for children to carry around helps ease their anxiety and make them feel close to their family.
Three of the best books for helping children who are going through separation anxiety are Owl Babies by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson, Oh, My Baby, Little One by Kathi Appelt, and The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn and Ruth E. Harper. Each of these books gently acknowledges the anxiety and opportunities separating from those we love can bring for everyone involved.
For children who are worried about having friends read Will I Have A Friend by Miriam Cohen and Lillian Hoban. This sweet book helps children realize there will be someone at school who will share their likes and will be their friend. I love the Charlie and Lola books (and the videos were also a favorite when my son was little) and a great one for preschoolers is I am Absolutely Too Small for School by Lauren Child.
Finally if your child is taking that giant step (for you and them) into kindergarten, read The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing and Julie Durrell. Another good title is Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come by Nancy Carlson.
I hope these few suggestions help you support your child as they take their first steps into the world, and help you realize all the anxiety is a normal. Please feel free to add your suggestions below. It is always good to have a lot of options!
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