A Good Day at School Starts With a Pep Talk at Home

The first day of school can be so exciting, but kids can also be anxious with questions swirling in their minds.

"Will their old friends be there? Will I make new friends? Will people accept me as I am? So, they're a little worried about their new classroom, the new teacher. And, if they're going to a new school, just the whole experience all together," said James Adams, senior program manager at Big Thought.

The Dallas-based nonprofit has for three decades been giving students access to creative learning opportunities that can help prepare them for success in work and life.

Adams said before you send your kids off to school, make a point to build up their confidence.

"I think the biggest thing to give them is the awareness of the gifts they have on the inside as opposed to trying to find something tangible on the outside," he said.

That morning pep talk sets a child up for a good day.

"Being the father of a 5-year-old and 8-year-old myself, establishing with them confidence and having those conversations that let them know that it's OK that they're gonna walk into new experiences," he said. "Understanding that everyone may not accept you but that's OK and understanding and reinforcing in them that they are special in who they are."

And when kids come home, Adams said parents should be talking to them about what went well during the day and coming up with solutions for things that didn't go so well.

"Having that conversation with them to encourage them and let them know that mom and dad are there to support them, and there's always someone at the school to support them. If it's not your friend, it's a counselor, a principal, a teacher and you can look around and find those people in those spaces to support you in those times," he explained.

Adams said it's also important for children and adults to "take a mindful moment, 'woosah.'" Adams recommends the relax, relate and release method.

• Relax - take a deep breath and tune out what's going on around you.
• Relate - identify what's frustrating you and what approach to take.
• Release - let it go through meditation, exercise or conversation.

"Taking the time to exhibit to your children that there are times when you need to relax, relate and release," he said. "And if parents can model that for their children, it's a powerful thing."

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