Moving into kindergarten is a big step for children and their parents. If they have never been in a school environment before, it’s an even bigger transition to deal with. It can mean a whole new school, new teachers, and a new classroom, not to mention more structured learning and a longer school day. It’s essential to prepare your child before kindergarten starts; here are some tips on how to do it.
Plan A Visit
If possible, book a visit to your child’s new school so that they get a chance to see what it’s like before that daunting first day. If they have already met their teacher and seen their learning environment, they are less likely to be afraid of going. It’s not just the classroom that’s important, though; try to see as much of the rest of the school as possible, including the cafeteria, the gym, the outside play areas, and anywhere else where your child is likely to spend some time.
Have A Bedtime Routine
Your child is going to be exhausted during their first few weeks (or even months) at their new school. It’s important to have a good bedtime schedule in place at least a month before their first day, as it will make things a lot easier for them once school starts. Parents often allow their children to stay up longer during the summer because it’s lighter outside, and there is less of a structure to the day, but this will need to be stopped in the weeks leading up to kindergarten starting. If your preschooler is still taking naps, it’s time to phase them out; they won’t get to have one at school.
Work Out Your Morning Routine
Many parents (and children) find the time between waking up and getting to school the most challenging part of the day. It is often rushed and frantic, and you can easily forget things. Tempers can fray. Before school starts, it’s a good idea to try some dry runs to work out precisely what time everyone will need to be up and dressed and out of the door. Make sure you allow enough time for breakfast as this can help your child concentrate better in their lessons.
Work Out Your Afternoon Routine
In many households, both parents work for at least part of the week, which can mean needing a routine for after-school pickup, homework, and mealtimes. You’ll need to plan all of this in advance and make sure that your child can get home from school every day. It’s not just the adults who need to understand this routine either; let your child know who is picking them up and whose house they will go to each day.
Try Things Out
Something that all kids are going to wonder is what exactly is going to happen in kindergarten. Although you may not know yourself – it will have been many years since you attended – you will be able to speak to the teachers in advance and do plenty of research.
Knowing what your child will need to be in the classroom is helpful as you can prepare them properly for it. You can go to kidslovewhat.com, for example, and find a plethora of different activities, crafts, and other fun ideas that will match what your child might do in kindergarten. Plus, there is plenty for older children too. Giving them a taste of what it will be like means that the first day won’t be quite so scary, and they might even be looking forward to it, making the situation an easier one for everyone to deal with.
Master Basic Skills
Children who have a few basic skills under their belt feel more at ease in class, so ensuring you can teach your child one of two things before they start school is a great way to help them feel better and feel prepared. Kindergarten is where children acquire fundamental skills and form lifelong learning habits. However, if your kid can already count to ten, identify their name, use child-safe scissors, handle a pencil, and dress themselves, they will be far ahead of where they need to be and much more confident as a result.
Over the summer before kindergarten starts, you can help your child practice these skills in a fun and low-stress manner, such as drawing and talking together or having a getting ready race.
Master Self-Care Too
When they start school, little kids need to know how to take care of themselves. This involves using the restroom, getting dressed, and washing their hands. The best way to prepare children for these expectations is for them to practice, practice, practice! The more you can do at home, the happier they will be in class and more able to concentrate on what they are learning.
Parents must ensure that their children wash their hands thoroughly and adhere to appropriate hygiene habits. Teach your child to sneeze or blow their nose into a tissue, then discard it. Get children in the habit of properly washing their hands, and avoid the temptation to take over for the sake of efficiency. Small children can care for themselves in this manner if they are taught how.
Make It Special
Many children will be nervous about their first day at kindergarten. It is much more grownup than preschool was, and it will be a lot different. They are going into the unknown. In order to stop them from feeling so nervous and worried, parents need to show them how special school is. Don’t let your child know that you’re sad they’re going; remind them of how much they will learn and how many new friends they will make. On the day before school starts, take them out for a special day together. Do something fun. It’s a lovely idea to get them a gorgeous new outfit to go to school in, for example, or to go and visit somewhere you’ve never been before. While you’re out, you can also buy all their school supplies and get them involved so that they become excited rather than scared.
CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.