These three books made a HUGE difference in our oldest daughter’s last 24 hours. No, we’re not moving, and fortunately our first day of school is still a month away…
Rather, the last day of camp was making my oldest anxious! She had attended a wonderful camp this week with two friends, but they were both not attending the last day… And she was incredibly unsure about going without them. Unsure enough that she cried many big, fat tears about it between pickup yesterday afternoon and bedtime last night.
And trust me, I contemplated letting her skip today and spend the morning with me. That would have been a lot easier and made her much happier much more quickly. But, my husband and I both agreed that one of our jobs is to gently push her to work through new and uncomfortable situations. So, we did! Of course, I grabbed some books I thought would be helpful (Mae’s First Day of School and The Kissing Hand happened to be on my desk because I’m updating my back-to-school lists, and I scrambled to get my hands on When You Are Brave quickly!), and we read a lot while dissecting what today was going to be like for her.
Even though she still went to bed crying about camp last night, she woke up this morning, got ready without hesitating, re-read these stories over breakfast, and only once very calmly said, “I don’t want to go to camp without my friends.”
But she did it! No crying, no clinging, no complaining, no hesitating. She walked right up, sat down next to her counselor, and settled into coloring while the other campers arrived. I’m sure she’ll be quiet and reserved at camp today, and I’m guessing she’ll have moments of feeling sad or lonely, but I also know that she’ll come out of this stronger. Because, as Pat Zietlow Miller wrote in When You Are Brave,
“Once you find your courage, it’s easy to use again and again. The next time life seems scary or you start something new, you can remember when you were brave. And then, you can stand straight and walk tall. Knowing you are as brave as… you.”
(By the way, if you don’t have The Kissing Hand, Mae’s First Day of School, or When You Are Brave, buy them now. They’re delightful and so applicable in so many situations! In fact, I called 3 different bookstores yesterday to buy our own When You Are Brave, as we’ve been checking it out from the library and I finally decided we needed it on hand for days like this.)
If you liked these books, check out my full list of terrific books for helping children work through fear and worry, and stay tuned next week for our favorite books about school and the first day of school!