Transitioning to Kindergarten
As stated in the previous blog, starting school can be a scary moment for you as a parent, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Worrying about your child just goes to show that you are a great parent! So, while the transition from preschool to kindergarten may seem stressful for both you and your child, there are plenty of easy ways to make it one of the best moments in your lives. Here is a detailed step by step process for parents who are new to school for handling the transition in a way that allows your child to get the most out of their experience while enjoying every moment of it:
Step 1: Summer- Before School Begins
Assuming that you have already toured the facility and met with your child’s teacher, (The Back to School Checklist for Parents) it is time to consider a few other things that you may have not thought about as a parent who is preparing their first child for kindergarten.
- Contact the school nurse and appropriate staff if your child has any allergies or special needs. Do this even if you have already indicated this on other forms. It is critical for the nurse to know your child’s allergies and the medications that are appropriate for them to avoid any serious harm. As a parent, you have every right to be an advocate of your child’s health and safety at school.
- Ease into the process of waking up early and getting ready. Start setting the alarm clock, going through dressing and breakfast rituals, and other routines a few weeks before school begins. This will prepare both you and your child as to what system works best and avoiding a stressful first few weeks trying to figure it out.
- Connect with friends in order to help your child avoid having to ease into a potentially awkward social setting. Contacting parents that have students in the same class and setting up a play date can help your child get familiar with their new classmate in a more comfortable setting and it keeps you at ease, knowing that your child won’t have any social anxiety on their first day of school.
Step 2: The First Day of School
The day has come. Because you have followed the proper actions in step one, you should be feeling a little less stress than what you originally thought. While we are sure that your parental instincts to worry about your child are still there, there is no need to worry. Be sure to follow these tips on their first day!
- Be positive and show support to your child. Giving them a big hug and smile will give them a little confidence heading into their big day. Remember to wave goodbye and tell them that you are proud of them as well.
- Help them say goodbye by reassuring that you will see them right after school. Because saying goodbye in a setting can be frightening for them, mentioning a specific time will help them to feel confident and have no worries.
- Avoid behaviors that will upset your child. Crying as you wave goodbye, arguing with a bus driver who may be late the first day, or battling with your child on their outfit can stress them out before their big day.
- Wait to ask your specific questions to the teacher. Teachers will already be being bombarded with questions from several parents and coworkers so be sure to take that into consideration. Trust that the teacher is a professional and will welcome your child effectively.
Step 3: The Journey
Kindergarten is an exciting first step to your child’s academic career. From gaining social skills to learning their alphabet, they are just embarking on the greatest and most rewarding journey of their life. Continuing to encourage your children while slowly gaining information about their days throughout the school year will help you and your child bond as well as give you insight into your child’s experience so far. Lastly, be sure to stay updated by readying everything that they bring home and continuing to stay in contact with other parents and teachers. One of the most rewarding aspects of being a parent is watching your children grow and continue to build confidence in their academic career.