Every kid has a few jitters on the first day of school. I’m pretty sure my dapper sixth-grader was less nervous than I this week, however. Middle school. Oi. I remember Anne Lamott saying that she was most afraid to have a baby because eventually that baby would have to go through seventh and eighth grade, which pretty much echoes my own thoughts of late.

We prepped for the Little Guy starting a new phase of his education by visiting the school so he could get his bearings. We enlisted the support–and eagle eye–of my best friend’s mama, who has known and loved the LG since he was born. And, of course, we prepped school supplies the night before. This morning he walked out the door with a full backpack, clarinet case, and a stylish new outfit.

I realized last night that I had planned to do something for him, make a special gift or design a morning surprise that would start his first day on a positive and encouraging note. When I remembered this with around 10pm last night I whipped out the embroidery thread and knotted up a simple friendship bracelet in his favorite colors (blue, blue, and gray for the accent).

He loved it. And wore it all day. It’s a constant reminder of me, his lovin’ mama, who supports him even when he’s at school on the other side of the county. I hope it will remind him of all the good things I tell him about himself: you are loved, smart, kind, capable, etc., etc. If not, then at least it was there, a bit of encouragement on day when everything is new.

That lil bracelet got me thinking about other ways to soothe first day jitters. In past years I’ve made little signs to hang on the back of LG’s seat at the breakfast table. I’ve tied balloons to his chair. I’ve surprised him with a fun pack of pens or pencils. Mostly, I’ve found, soothing jitters is about affection and attention from those who love and support you. But a token of those sentiments doesn’t hurt.

How about this fun idea: Stitch up some “pocket hearts” and pop them in your child’s pocket, lunch sack, backpack, or–add a pin back to pin one to their shirt. A perfect first day accessory for little ones.

Or make a quick friendship bracelet.

xoxo, Shannon