The first day of preschool or kindergarten can be heartbreaking as well as ear-splitting for parents. As they drop off their children for the first time, kids' reactions can vary from tears to tantrums. But there are ways to reduce the feelings of abandonment and anxiety that create first-day stress.

The first day of preschool or kindergarten can be heartbreaking as well as ear-splitting for parents. As they drop off their children for the first time, kids' reactions can vary from tears to tantrums. But there are ways to reduce the feelings of abandonment and anxiety that create first-day stress.

GreatSchools.org, a leading source of information on school performance, recommends parents start by attending school orientation meetings or talking to their child's teacher before school starts, if orientation meetings are not planned.

Buying supplies and touring the school together, before the first day, can also alleviate fears. Reading books about the first day of school will not only give your child an idea of what to expect, it may also start conversations about how your child is really feeling about that first day.

Once the conversation starts, talk to your child enthusiastically about school, without overdoing or forcing it, and acknowledge his or her concerns while explaining that the teacher is there to help.

If your child attended preschool, you can compare it to kindergarten. If your child has no school experience, let him or her practice being away from you at a playdate or with another adult in your family. Start slowly, with an outing that lasts only an hour, and gradually extend the time away from you.

Worthington Libraries staff wants to make the start of your child's school career a fun experience and, for the past several years, have planned storytimes designed to ease first-day jitters and get kids excited about all the friends they'll make and the new things they'll learn.

First Day Jitters storytimes are planned for both preschoolers and kindergartners at Old Worthington Library on Tuesday, Aug. 6; at Northwest Library on Wednesday, Aug. 7. Both start at 7 p.m. All will feature dancing, clapping, hands-on activities and, of course, books.

Titles about looking forward to each day's new school adventure, like Jake Starts School by Michael Wright and Dinosaur Starts School by Pamela Duncan Edwards, and those with seriously silly topics, like You Can't Go to School Naked!, will be available to check out.

Listen to and learn about more great books for your soon-to-be schoolchildren at the First Day Jitters storytimes.

Hillary Kline is communications specialist for Worthington Libraries.