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Back-to-school ice breakers to ease first day fears

Stress-reducing interactions

To help students transition to the classroom with fewer worries, teachers and parents may want to initiate ice breakers and other stress-reducing interactions. Here are some ideas.

Buddy up

Many schools will give out classroom assignments a few days before the first day of school. Parents can investigate who is in their child’s homeroom and initiate contact with the parents of one or more of those students. Collectively, parents can make a buddy plan for students to arrive to school together and enter the classroom as a team. Coordinate clothing colors or have students wear another unifying symbol. This may allay fears and make the first day of school more fun.

School selfie

Students can craft “school selfies” on a piece of paper using a smartphone image template. This selfie illustration will give the class key facts about each student and present an interesting, creative and enjoyable way for students to get to know one another.

Personal introductions

Students may worry about teachers mispronouncing their names or using a full name instead of a nickname. Rather than a traditional roll call, teachers can encourage students to introduce themselves to classmates, using their preferential name and including a brief synopsis of their interests and what makes them unique.

Teachers also can initiate other ice-breakers by giving students a sheet with various questions, which students then have to complete by asking around among the other students. For example, “Who has a pet fish?” or “Find someone who has blue eyes.”

The first day of school can be difficult for some children. Fun activities and some extra effort from parents and teachers can make the return to the classroom less stressful.