Regardless of whether or not your child has attended preschool, kindergarten will still bring about many changes in his or her life. It may be your child’s first time in a structured classroom, or it may be his or her first time with a larger group of children compared to preschool’s smaller classes. Either way, it can certainly be a big step in their educational career.
That said, all kids respond to change differently. Some are excited to take on a new challenge, and others are scared or reserved. Everyone handles change differently, but here are some ways in which you can make the transition smoother for your son or daughter.
Keep Specific Morning and Bedtime Routines
Depending on what time school starts, you will probably have an earlier wake-up time in mind for your kindergartner. That means a whole new schedule that he or she will need to follow to get ready for the day. Your child may even need to be outside on time to catch the bus, so getting dressed and eating breakfast in a timely manner is crucial.
In order to achieve success most mornings, it is also probably best to start with an earlier bedtime, along with a post-dinner time routine to get them ready to start heading to bed. Even if they don’t want to go to bed yet, a consistent night-time routine will help their brain and body start preparing to go to sleep. That also means getting things ready for the next day, such as packing your child’s backpack with signed permission slips, assignments, and healthy lunch the night before.
Slowly Introduce New Friends
There’s a chance that if you live and participate in a community your child will already know some of the other kids who could be in their class or their grade. You and other parents could set up play dates for your children in order to give them a chance to make friends before school kicks off. If home meetings bring jitters, try introducing your child to other kids at the neighborhood park or playscape. It’s also important to be aware of who your child is interacting with once they start school, as knowing who they’re talking to can let you know who they might want to play with after school or on a play date. You could also see if your child’s school has any Meet the Teacher nights that give them a chance to meet their new teacher as well as some of the kids who will be in their class.
Start Reading Together
While kindergarten teachers encourage playing as a gateway to learning, most children will also be learning the basic building blocks of reading, writing, and arithmetic as part of their curriculum. That means reading with your child encourages him or her to prepare for listening to stories in the classroom and can motivate your student to learn the skill on their own.
Practice Applicable Skills
You can sit with your child and teach him or her essential skills like holding a pencil, writing his or her name, and cutting shapes with safety scissors. You can even buy kindergarten social ready kits that teach helpful skillsets through activities, stories, coloring, drawing, and the use of sticker books. This way they can engage in more instructive play that can help prepare them for success in the classroom.
There are many ways to get your little kindergartner prepared for class. Whether he or she is excited or frightened, you can provide your child with the structure and love that is sure to help him or her succeed down the road.