This August, lots of parents will face a very big milestone in their child’s life. The first day of Kindergarten. For most parents, this milestone approaches way too quickly. It sneaks up on you. One day you have this beautiful little baby and the next thing you know you are supposed to drop him or her off at a giant elementary school where they will have to fend for themselves and learn new things. Well, maybe it’s not that dramatic, but it really does feel that way. Regardless of how you feel, this day will come and you want your child to be prepared. It’s important to find fun ways to work with them to make sure they have a great first day.
Take them on a tour of their new school
As soon as you know where your child will be attending Kindergarten, schedule a tour for yourself and your child. You want them to see what their new environment will look like and give them a chance to soak it all in. It’s a great opportunity for them to see if they have any questions about what goes on and it will also get them excited. Be sure to attend any summer events as well, and Open Houses that the school is hosting. The more opportunities to make the new school familiar, the better.
Read books about Kindergarten
During the summer leading up to Kindergarten, take your child to the library and/or bookstore to find books you can read together about going to school. Many of them will present scenarios where the main character is nervous and excited. This will show your child that these emotions are normal and will help them prepare. Check with your local library for recommendations and see if you can reserve some books ahead of time. Reading stories is a very healthy way to help children understand how to process the emotions they might be feeling.
Follow the guidelines of your elementary school
You child’s new school will likely give you some guidelines for the tasks they need to be able to complete for Kindergarten. Work with your child over the summer to make sure they feel confident in doing those things.
Practice the new nighttime and morning routine
In the week leading up to the first week of school, start to practice your new routines. Get started by outlining with your child what the routine will look like. You can even make a list of the things you will need to accomplish each night and each morning. Then practice that new routine for a week or so before school starts. It will help all of you prepare and adjust to the new schedule.
Do something special to celebrate the end of summer
As summer comes to a close, do something special to commemorate its end and celebrate the new experience that is about to begin. Plan a trip to the zoo or have a picnic. Maybe a quick weekend getaway. Just make it special and talk about the fun things to come.
Put on your brave face
This one is about you, the parents. Your child is going to have a lot of mixed emotions, and so are you. It is important to show your child that you are excited for them and to talk about it in a positive way. You may feel sad, but you need to reserve those emotions for a time when you are not with your child. They will have a harder time if you are visibly upset. So put on your brave face for them.
Sending your child to kindergarten is a big step. Try to embrace it and find the joy. It can be so hard to come to terms with your baby growing up and being ready for it, but it is also amazing to see how much they will learn and grow once they are there.