Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten
Starting kindergarten is a big but exciting transition in a child’s life. It can be scary and stressful for both you and your child, especially if this is your child’s first experience in school. However, if you take some steps to prepare yourself and your child for this new experience, you can ease some of the anxiety and get your child’s schooling off to a great start!
Start talking early. Start talking about kindergarten a few weeks before school starts. Tell your child all of the positive and exciting things about kindergarten, but also listen to him and answer his questions. Be sure to listen for emotions such as excitement, fear, anxiety, and confusion. Provide not just answers to his questions but also comfort and reassurance to help him feel more confident about going to kindergarten.
Go for a visit. Find out if your child’s kindergarten class has an orientation or a visiting day. You and your child can meet the teacher(s) and other children who will be in the class as well as other parents, and you can find out what his daily schedule will be like. If not, take your child to the school, walk around the grounds together, and play on the playground.
Get to know other kindergarteners. If possible, organize a play date or two with children who will be in your child’s class. You may already know families with children the same age as yours, or you might meet some when you visit the school. You can also ask the teacher(s) if there are any families close by to you or new to the school, as well. This way, not every face in the classroom will be unfamiliar when your child goes to school the first day, and you can find other parents to share experiences with.
Get into a routine. In the weeks before your child starts kindergarten, establish a school day routine. Put your child to bed as if it were a school night and have her wake up in the morning and get ready (get dressed, have breakfast, wash up) as if it were a school morning. If this is your child’s first experience in a school setting, create a schedule during the day similar to that which she will experience in preschool to get her used to the structure. If your child will be taking lunch or snack, make sure that any containers and packages are user-friendly. If your child takes a backpack to school, make sure it is a good fit and easy for her to get on and off.
Reprinted with the permission of the One Tough Job campaign. © Children's Trust Fund of Massachusetts 2007. All rights reserved.
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