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How to help with first-day jitters

Whether your child is starting kindergarten or high school, here are some tips for soothing first-day jitters:

-- Before the first day, go over what your morning routine will be, from wake-up time to out-the-door. Consider a practice run for young children.

-- Let your child know that it’s normal to feel nervous, and that many classmates probably feel the same way.

-- Tour the school. If possible, introduce your child to his teacher and point out the cafeteria, restrooms and playground. For older students, learn as much as you can about the schedule and curriculum. Most schools host an open house or Meet the Teacher night; plan to attend.

-- Ease a kindergartner’s first-day jitters with one of these back-to-school stories: “The Kissing Hand,” by Audrey Penn; “Will I Have a Friend?” by Miriam Cohen; or “First Day, Hooray!” by Nancy Poydar.

-- If your young child cries at the classroom door, don’t hang around. But don’t sneak off when she’s not looking, either. Tell her that you’re going now but that you’ll be back in the afternoon — or remind her of bus protocol and when you’ll meet again — and make a matter-of-fact exit.

-- At day’s end, relax together and talk about how things went. Celebrate small successes, such as finding a lunch buddy or participating in a fun activity.

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