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What If You’re Scared To Start School?

illustration of a modern school building
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Five-year-old Odin in Wyoming is about to start school and he sent us this question: If I’m terrified about kindergarten do I have to go? What should I do if I’m scared? What if kids are mean to me? In this episode, tips and suggestions from our listeners for kids returning to school, along with answers from guidance counselor Tosha Todd and National Teacher of the Year Juliana Urtubey.

Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript

Related Episodes: Why Do We Have To Go To School?

First day of school book recommendations from Tosha Todd

First Day Jitters

Night Before Kindergarten

Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten

The Kissing Hand

Back to school tips

Make a hug button! Draw a heart on the inside of your hand. Draw a heart on your parent’s hand. Squeeze them together to charge your hug button. If you feel nervous at school, push the hug button and it will send you a hug. - Tosha Todd, school guidance counselor

Keep a picture of your family in your backpack. You can share with your teacher the things your family does for fun. That will help your teacher understand your family. - Juliana Urtubey, National Teacher of the Year

If you're nervous try to have fun and try to make some friends and the school year will be a lot better.- Zoe, 10 Colorado

Remind yourself that you are brave and confident. - Clarissa, 8, Ontario

Get into a school routine now. Pick out your clothes the night before. Maybe pack your lunch too. - Tosha Todd

When I start school I feel nervous, but when I step in I feel ok. For the first few days I play by myself. When those first few days are done, I play with others. - Julius, 8, Ontario

Take a deep breath, be kind to someone and they'll be kind to you. - Zoe, 6, California

Get everyone's names and if you forget them it's ok to ask again. - Lucy, Vermont

Say hi to all the kids. - Ben, 6, Michigan

You're going to make friends, and your mom and dad will pick you up; they're not going to leave you there forever. - Sly, 7, New York

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Jane Lindholm is the host, executive producer and creator of But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids. She also produces special projects for the station. Until March 2021, she was the host of the award-winning Vermont Public Radio program Vermont Edition.
Melody is the senior producer for But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids.