By Sam Leyvas, CEO, First Things First
For 5- to 6-year-olds starting kindergarten, the first day can be exciting, but also a bit scary. As parents, we can reduce those fears by preparing our kids in the days leading up to the first day of school.
Below are tips to help your family have a fun, easy transition to kindergarten:
Be aware of your own feelings. Children can sense anxiety and mirror it.
Talk with your child about what to expect during the school day. The more details kids know, the less anxious they will feel.
Read books together about starting kindergarten. Librarians may offer suggestions.
Rehearse for the big day with test-runs of the new routine:
Wake up with plenty of time to get ready.
Fix a healthy breakfast together.
Lay out clothes the night before.
If your child takes a school bus, walk to the bus stop and talk about boarding and where to sit. If you will drive to school, talk about landmarks along the way.
Pack a nutritious, tasty lunch and practice opening things together. Remind them that teachers or lunch staff can help if needed.
Reassure your child about what will happen after the day is over, including the types of after-school activities they may be involved in.
Give your child a family picture to keep in their pocket or backpack, and reassure them about what time you will see them again.
Spend extra time on the first day of school, but do not “drag out” saying goodbye. Send them off with a reassuring hug and kiss!
Kindergartners sometimes have accidents. Pack an extra pair of clothes and bring it on the first day.
Send a message that education is important by getting involved in your child’s school activities. Speak regularly with your child’s teacher, and if possible, participate in your school’s PTO/PTA.
Most importantly, celebrate and enjoy this milestone with your child.
By preparing our kids for the first day of school, we can set them on the path to success in kindergarten and beyond!