Ease Your Child’s Back To School Worries With The Joy Of Reading

Summer days are coming to an end, and depending where you live, school is – or shortly will be – back in session.

Going back to school can be a rough transition, especially for younger children who have gotten used to being back home with Mom all day.

But there’s a really good way you can help your kids to feel better about the summer-to-school transition, and best of all, it’s fun and free!

Young children can be anxious about going back to school.  They may feel lonely and scared starting in a new classroom with new kids and teachers away from the security of home and family.

It’s always a good idea to mentally prepare kids for the new experiences they will have in the upcoming school year – what to expect and who they will meet – but also to recognize and support their feelings of fear and anxiety.

Or better yet, their excitement if they are looking forward to the school year!

A great way to do this is with a trip to the local library.  Books have a special way of helping us to make connections – we relate to the characters and experience the feelings that they experience.

Picture books, in particular, are perfect for the youngest of kids – preschoolers who are having their first school experience or returning to preschool, kindergartners and early elementary schoolers, and even our little ones who are going to daycare.

It can be rough to meet new people and to think ahead to a time later in the year when they will be comfortable and used to the routine.

The colorful illustrations in picture books and the fun stories about characters going through the same experiences they are helping them to adapt to the changes that come with going back to school.

There are so many wonderful picture books out there, but here are a few of our mom-tested favorites!

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg is great for little ones going off to kindergarten.  Main character, Sarah, has that anxious feeling – the worst butterflies in the stomach – about starting at a new school.  Will the other kids like her?  Will she fit in?  How will she make it through the day?

These are questions all of our kids have when going back to school, especially a new school.  The fun illustrations and loveable characters will give your child an emotional boost and let them know they are not alone in their feelings!

If You Take A Mouse To School by Laura Numeroff is just one in a classic series of picture books by the same author and illustrator, Felicia Bond.  We know what happens when you give this mouse a cookie, but what is he going to ask for when he goes to his first day of school?!

These books are great for engaging young children because they can try to guess what crazy thing little mouse will ask for next.  If he gets a piece of paper, will he want a pencil – or a crayon?  What will happen at lunch?  These books about little mouse are lots of fun and a family favorite in many households, as are Numeroff’s other characters in If You Give A Moose A Muffin, If You Give A Pig A Pancake, and more!

David Goes To School by David Shannon follows our favorite enthusiastic little boy from the No, David! series as he starts school.  David always has lots of energy and is very curious.  He wants to do what he wants, when he wants. Sound familiar?

But David, like all of our children, must learn that there are different rules for different situations in life.  What will the rules be like at school?  Will he be able to follow them?  This is a great book for antsy preschoolers who aren’t used to sitting in school and the simple text and bright child-like pictures keep the kids’ attention.

Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anne Dewdney follows the adventures of our favorite little llama (of Red Pajama fame) as Llama Llama goes to school for the first time.  We all know how much Llama loves his Mama, and how hard it is to be away from our Mamas for the day.  Little Llama is always brave in the end with a little encouragement and support from his family, and your child can be too!

Click, Clack, Quack To School by Doreen Cronin follows those loveable farm animals from the Click, Clack, Moo book as they see what happens when they go to school.  Animals are a favorite with kids, and it is fun when they are in situations usually meant for people!   Will the animals come up with hilarious demands like in the previous book?  Will they cause chaos at school?  Pick up a copy and find out with your little one!

And speaking of animals who go to school…

There are so many wonderful picture books that explore the roller-coaster of emotions that kids have going to school.  And by telling the story of an animal or dinosaur character that is their age, it mixes the “silly” with the “reality” of what goes through their minds when starting school.

And it shows kids that we are all the same in some ways — someone, or something, may look different than we do but have the same feelings and emotions.

Active kids will love We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan Higgins as little Penelope Rex goes through all the feelings associated with starting school.

Splat the Cat:  Back To School, Splat!  By Rob Scotton is one of the Splat the Cat series in which Splat has to say goodbye to all his favorite summer activities.  But why?  Can’t summer last forever?  See what happens when Splat takes one of his favorite summer ideas for his first school-year show and tell!

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes is about a loveable mouse who has a little trouble with drama – like many little girls.  She is super excited to start school, has her new outfit all picked out, and is ready to go.  But Lilly’s enthusiasm starts to cause some disruption in school.  She must learn to temper her excitement and follow the rules – something a lot of our little ones can relate to.

We hope you’ll take some time to read one of these wonderful picture books to your child before school or find one at your local library that relates to the specific feelings and experiences your child is going through during this transition.

A trip to the library is always a relaxing and quiet break from the hustle and bustle of the day and making it a routine can inspire a life-long love of reading in your child.

Don’t forget to use these books – or your own family favorites – to engage your child in conversation about their school day.  Their fears, things that happened during the day (good and bad), what they look forward to, and who they have met and enjoy spending time with.

Reading is a connective force that helps us to unwind from a busy day of hectic schedules and technology.

And there is no better way to spend time with our children than curling up together with a good book.

We hope you enjoy these back to school picture books, and we hope you spend some time at your local library finding others to share together.

What are some of your family’s favorite back to school books?  Are there any you read year after year?  Do you have a new favorite you just discovered?  Leave us your ideas.

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