Kindergarten is only a few weeks away! I know many parents are feeling anxious about sending their children off to elementary school. I know I am…and I have already gone through this once with my older son.
Since I am doing it all over again, I thought I would take some time to go through a quick checklist with you all. Many times anxiety stems from not feeling prepared or in control of your situation. I am going to give that power back to you today! There are many things you can do today to help make this transition easier for your little one. You Got This!
Here are some tips:
Read books about Kindergarten such as: Kindergarten Here I Come!, Kindergarten is Cool! I just got these from the library and my daughter was so excited to read them! She also asked a bunch of questions which teachers call “teachable moments.” I love using books as a way to help my children process something new. We talked about cubbies for backpacks, circle time for reading and calendar time, and what kindergarten centers are. Talking about kindergarten centers will be especially important to discuss if your child is switching from a Montessori Preschool Method to a traditional classroom setting. Children that are using the Montessori Method are probably used to getting their rugs and doing their “work” whenever they want, but in a traditional classroom setting, they all do everything together and have to wait to move on to the next center!
Have a Morning Checklist. This could be a simple print out or a dry erase board in their room! Remind them every morning that they need to: 1. Go to the bathroom 2. Brush their teeth 3. Get dressed (pick out clothes the night before) 4. Wash Face/Comb hair/Put on Lotion 5. Have breakfast and Take vitamins! Having a written list or some sort of visuals with pictures will help them stray from the plan! Reward them with a sticker each day and do something fun if they have a good week! In my house, summer has meant slow mornings and the schedule has varied based on what my daughter want to do. However, having a routine in the morning will really help with stress levels. While they are getting ready, you can start packing their lunch! Remember, kindergartners and their parents are both getting use to getting to school at the same time every day.
Do Homework and Check Backpacks. For some reason, kindergartners often bring stuff home that they don’t realize they can’t and/or a friend may give them something to take home. Make sure to check what they are brining home. Also set a routine for what they do when they get home. Give them a snack. Talk to them about their day. Have them do their homework. Also, elementary schools have a lot of forms! So make sure you fill out the forms while they are doing their homework.
Get Them To Bed on Time. Having a night time routine will help with that. Give them a bath, read books and pick out clothes for the next day. Make sure you are consistent with bed time because it will help with waking them up in the morning. I typically shut off all the lights downstairs and pretend like everyone is going to bed in our house when it’s time for the night time routine. My son (who is 10) reads in his room, and my daughter starts her night time routine.
Breathe! You Got This! The first month is a bit of a transition for everyone in the family, but remember you are all just starting to get the hang of it and it will get easier!
Congrats to All The Parents of Kindergartners & Good Luck!
Dr. Amita Roy Shah is the founder of Hybrid Parenting, a site dedicated to investing in the social, emotional and cultural well-being of all children. She currently teaches Contemporary Parenting at San Jose State University in the Department of Child and Adolescence.