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Preparing For The First Day

August 15, 2012, 6:13 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Preparing For The First Day

Some KELOLAND kids will be going to bed a little earlier Wednesday night. Believe it or not, some Sioux Falls private schools begin the new school year on Thursday.

And from finding a new classroom to meeting a new teacher, kids can have a lot of stress about the first day, especially for kindergarteners going to school for the first time.

Jennifer Gonzales is preparing her two sons to begin the school year at St. Mary .They went to an open house to meet their teachers, unpack school supplies and pay for lunch accounts. Jennifer's son Gabriel will begin 4th grade and Jacob starts Kindergarten.

"Jacob is thrilled. He's been excited ever since we got school supplies. He's been bouncing and ready to go," Jennifer said.

While Jacob is bouncing with excitement, some children aren't so excited. In fact, they may be stressed or anxious.

"If you have a child who's slow to adapt and not very outgoing, those concerns can cause a lot of anxiety and stress," Sanford Family Life Educator Amy Heisinger said.

Heisinger says the best thing you can do is bring your child to a school open house.

"So they can see what it's going to look like and that can lesson some of the anxiety," Heisinger said.

Along with showing your child his or her classroom, some other things that might help include, getting your child on a good sleeping and eating schedule, along with talking to him or her about what's to come.

"Just having a lot of conversations, talking to the kids about what they're feeling, what are they nervous and excited about, focus on some of those positives," Heisinger said.

And if despite all the preparation, you're child still has a morning meltdown on the first day, Heisinger says you should bring your child to school and trust that the teacher can redirect his or her tears.

"The key is for the parents to give them a kiss and hug, say goodbye and get out quickly. The longer you linger, the harder it is for the child, the child's teacher and for yourself," Heisinger said.

But for some families, like Jennifer’s, the mother might be experiencing more first-day jitters than the kids.

"I work part-time, so I'm home with the boys a lot, so it's hard just being away from them and letting someone else take over," Jennifer said.

Heisinger says attending an open house can also be helpful for parents who are anxious about the first day.

You should also start a back-to-school sleep routine a week before school begins.

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