Our Remedy for the Back-to-School Jitters
It’s the end of August. For many kids, that statement can be met with a mixed bag of emotions: eagerness, worry, hope, excitement, nervousness, etc. (more commonly known as the back-to-school jitters).
As parents/caring adults, you probably feel many of the same emotions as your little ones gear up for a new school year. You prepare your kids the best way you can. Healthy lunches are packed along with new pencil crayons, scented markers, and the latest trending toy, but you can’t help but wonder and worry what the year will bring.
We thought to ourselves…what can help to make the back-to-school transition easier for kids and maybe quell some of those unwelcome jitters?
Our remedy = confidence.
A confident and self-assured child is going to be one that will take risks. Maybe for your child, that means raising his or her hand in class, asking someone new to play at recess, or making an effort to speak French even when the teacher isn’t listening. Whatever the goal is, we believe that the first step to achieving it is to believe in oneself.
So, what does the doctor recommend to inspire a healthy dose of confidence?
- Be a model for confidence. For example, if you have a big presentation at work coming up, use self-talk to show your child that nervousness is natural, but that it can be overcome by preparing and doing your best.
- Make failure your friend. In each setback, there is a lesson to be learned. Celebrate the fact that you had the courage to try, and now you are prepared with more knowledge to try again. For more information on this topic, read our last blog post on Growth Mindset and Failure.
- Encourage curiosity. Have conversations about topics that interest your child and be open about the fact that you don't have all the answers but you are willing to learn. Curiosity with a dash of confidence will lead to taking risks.
- Celebrate and encourage the unique talent(s) that your child shows - maybe it's drawing, sports, robotics, juggling, or making you laugh. Confidence in one area often spills over into others.
- Help your child set goals. Be sure to make goals are attainable and specific and to celebrate when goals are met! We like to celebrate, can you tell?
- Be sincere and specific with your praise. A high-five or a "bravo!" can go a long way after a job well done. Even better, describe something specific that your child did really well. For example, "I saw that you used the pictures to help you read your book today, way to go!"
Make your encouragement visible. Try posting positive, confident-boosting messages on your fridge that your kid(s) can see every day. Try something like:
"Tu es capable!" - You can do it!
"Tu es génial!" - You're awesome! (Tip: For a girl, write géniale.)
"Vouloir, c'est pouvoir!" - Where there's a will, there's a way!
- Select books for reading with a strong theme of self-confidence and acceptance.
Here are our favourite picks to inspire confidence for this September:
Frisette la Mouffette – An adorable little skunk who tries to hide her true self and ends up realizing that she’s perfect the way she is. Let your flag fly!
Azuro le dragon bleu – Shunned for being different, Azuro’s unique qualities are what saves the day. Sweet with strong morals, just the way we like it.
Lili Macaroni (Je suis comme je suis) – This book speaks about the pain that comes from being teased, a way to deal with that pain, and the realization that what makes us different is actually what makes us special and uniquely ourselves. Warning: This book is so touching that it may cause you (yes, the adult) to shed a few tears. If it happened to us, it can happen to you!
Le Grand Livre de Go Girl Tome 2 – Both academic and social struggles are highlighted in this three-story chapter book, along with the paths that are taken to overcome these challenges. Girl Power to the max!
Best wishes for an amazing school year!