First day jitters: 12 steps to get over them!


Much the same as when I was in labour and had a photograph to concentrate on, I find facing anxiety easier when I have something visual to fix on. This summer some of the happiest times we had were at the lake with family, just hanging out. Here is Sara offering one of the hundreds of frogs she caught and released. When I was six, I was a champion frog-catcher too, with my sisters, brother and neighbourhood kid. —photo by Tessa, staff photographer

The First Day of School
Year after year I say we’ll all get to bed by 9 and have a big breakfast with yogurt and fruit and french toast and ham and juice and get out of the house early enough to pick flowers for the teacher and walk to shool. This morning I had two kids starting school, one back to Grade 3, one to an all-new Grade 12 school, and one kid going back to a program, where classes don’t start, but the work does. Talk about high anxiety. Here’s what finally works for us:

1. Shower the night before. Trim bangs the night before. Remove and/or apply nail polish the night before.
2. Go to bed before midnight.
3. Lay out two totally different outfits before going to bed at midnight.
4. Drink a lot of water before going to bed at midnight, so you will have another good reason to get up in the morning.
5. Look at your summer pictures when you get up, when you brush your teeth, when you sit for breakfast.
6. Drop your shoulders, hang your head down, slowly roll it from side to side.
7. Look at your summer pictures and go there in your mind.
8. Drink at least one cup of water—being dehydrated will make you headachy and jittery.
9. Eat only YOUR comfort food for breakfast—if it’s toast soggy with butter, have it this one morning. If it’s dry cereal, same; Cheez Whiz on crackers; sliced bananas sprinkled with brown sugar; have it. You can work on protein when you don’t feel so nervous.
10. Look at your summer pictures again. Spray on your summer sunscreen. Put on your summer hat. Brush your teeth.
11. For those over 14, two spritzs of Rescue Remedy, if needed.
12. Remember, no one ever really does a lot of work on the first day. All you need to do is spy one person you know and make contact.

Saying for today, the first day of school: “To make a friend, be a friend.”

To which Luka quickly replied: “How can you be a friend if you don’t have a friend to be a friend to? Who told you that one?”

Oh, I don’t know.

Some goof with no friends? Or a person with so many friends he or she can’t remember a time without friends? Why can’t my seven-year-old let me say a saying and say “Oh yeah!”? Do I hear apples falling from a tree?

I can’t wait for supper to hear all the stories!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU: was the kids’ first day of school a happy day, a sad day, or one in between for you? Did you serve a traditional “first day of school dinner” or did you leave that up to Swiss Chalet?? (There’s a givaway—that’s been our staple first-day-back-to-school supper!)


3 Responses

  1. Thanks for the list! Most of those things apply better to ME than the kids, since I think I am more affected by there going back to school than they are. Being one of those people who hates the sounds of silence, I do not look longingly forward to them going back. I miss the laughter and even the arguments (much prefer arguing about cutting lawns and dog-related duties than arguing about homework!).

    Anyway, first day for them seemed to go off without a hitch. They had “cool” teachers and each only mentioned one “loser” teacher. One teacher did give homework (were these people ever really kids themselves?).

  2. My daughter started Grade 1 – new teacher after having the same one for two years! She was so excited – singing “I’m in Grade 1 now,I’m a big girl, I’m all grown-up!” I love her enthusiasm and I hope it stays around all year. She is so excited about learning to read this year, and I am excited for her.

  3. Every fall I tell myself that this will be the year that I serve nice suppers every night for my family just like my mother used to. I do pretty well for the first few days, then those extracurricular activities start up again and out come the pizza bagels. As my youngest headed off to Kindergarten this year and is now more of an age for her own extracurricular activities, I envision a growing relationship with the staff at my local M & M Meat shop.

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