Your child is finally ready to go kindergarten. It’s an exciting time and a scary time all at once. There may be tears (yours and theirs) and that’s okay. Taking this big step of sending your child off to school for the first time isn’t something to scoff at. As you count down the coming year there are some important parenting tips that can help both of you prepare for them to start school.
If your children have spent any of the last several years in daycare they may already be acclimated to a classroom setting. However, if you’ve been keeping them home during the day, this is an important place to start. The kindergarten classroom, with all of its colorful flexibility, is still more regimented than your home. Your student will be expected to participate and remain focused as much as possible during the day. During this next year, spend some time setting up a structure in your own home to prepare your student for their first year of school. This can be as simple as creating a chore chart or as involved as creating a workspace in your home where they can practice skills like reading and writing.
In addition to acclimating to their new schedule, your child may need help acclimating to a lot of new relationships. Developing friendships is a skill learned and honed over time. For some children, that skill is as natural as breathing, but for others, it may take some encouragement. Find a way to help your child stretch their boundaries this year and get used to making relationships with new friends. Maybe that means finding a daycare program or sending them to camp during the summer. Either way, they’ll benefit from growing their socializing muscles.
Besides acclimating to the kindergarten classroom setting and learning to make new friends, your children may struggle with a routine when experiencing it for the first time. Find out from the school they will attend next year, what kind of schedule you can expect and try to implement it this year. That means, if school starts every day at 8 am, make sure they’re up, showered, and dressed that early. And if nap time is at 11 am every day, set the same nap time for them at home. The more familiarity you can build for them early on the better they will adjust to their new school next year.
Transitioning from being at home with you to spending most of the day at school is a big move for all of you, but it doesn’t all have to come at once. Take your time this year to ease yourselves into a kindergarten routine that works best for your family. If you’d like more access to parenting tips, type “parenting tips” into the search bar above. And if you want to learn more about kindergarten at St. Barnabas, contact us today.