There is a bittersweet feeling you get when your child starts kindergarten. You are excited about your child experiencing a huge milestone. You plan the first day of kindergarten chalkboard sign and decide on your child’s first-day outfit. You think about cute ways to pack lunches. But along with the excitement, as parents we mourn their toddler years and how the time flew by so fast. We worry about how they will respond to this big change in their life. Will they feel anxious? Will they make friends? Will they adjust well? These worries can make us feel lost and unprepared.
You can ease these anxieties by preparing your child for kindergarten and taking steps to ensure that the transition goes as smoothly as possible.
Be sure to attend the school’s open house. You and your child can meet the teacher, see the classroom, and familiarize yourselves with the school. You should also make a list of things and places to seek out in the school in addition to the classroom and teacher. Walking the halls with your child is the best way to ease the anxiety of a new environment. Introduce your child to all the places they will be visiting throughout the school day. Go to the cafeteria and sit at a table with your child, telling them about the lunch line. If you plan to pack a lunch, explain to your child they will be eating the food from their lunch box in the cafeteria.
Next, show your child where the main office is and visit the nurse’s office, too.
Other places in the school to check out are the library, gym, and pick-up and drop-off locations.
Even though your child will not remember all the places they’ve seen, they will feel more confident when visiting these places later with their classmates.
Perhaps the most important place to visit is THE BATHROOM! Find out where the bathrooms are and ask if the aids walk children to the bathrooms when they need to go. Do they have scheduled breaks? Knowing these things will limit any accidents and help ease the anxiety you or your child may have when it comes to the bathroom.
Here are more suggestions for prepping your soon-to-be kindergartener:
- Read books to start conversations about their fears or worries. Listed below are some options:
o Mae’s First Day of School
o First-Day Jitters
o On the First Day of Kindergarten
o Kindergarten Here I Come
- A week before school starts, implement a nighttime routine that will resemble your school nights.
- Practice lunchtime routine that resembles their kindergarten lunchtime.
- Take a trip to the school playground and let them explore.
Make the first day of kindergarten memorable and exciting! Though you feel so many emotions on the first day of school, remember that this is an exciting transition towards independence for your child. Be strong and know your child is going to thrive.