How To Prepare Your Child For Kindergarten
Making the transition from preschool to kindergarten can be a daunting task for both kids and parents. Sometimes it’s even more emotionally difficult for the parents than it is for the kids! Your little one is entering a new chapter of their lives, which often makes parents sentimental knowing that their precious babies are growing up so fast (cue sad face emoji).
However, this is no time for tears! Stay strong and follow these tips which will help you and your child prepare for kindergarten.
Establish a bedtime routine one month before kindergarten starts.
Long summer days often turn into long summer nights! This is all fine and dandy until bedtime inches later and later into the evening. Everyone is having so much fun enjoying the dog days of summer that somehow we don’t even realize what has happened.
During the summer months, bedtime routines tend to flly out the window, or are at least a bit more lax than during the school year. It’s time to pull in the reigns and start establishing an earlier bedtime and a consistent evening routine. A good time to start is about a month before the first day of kindergarten. By the time school starts, your kiddos should be adjusted to the new earlier bedtime. This ensures that they will be well rested for the early morning wake up time, which will help them remain alert and productive throughout the school day!
Phase out naps.
This is another sleep related tip that goes hand-in-hand with establishing an earlier bedtime. If your child is still napping, it’s time to nip that nap in the bud! Kids typically aren’t napping in the kindergarten classroom, so it’s a good idea to start phasing naps out in the summer prior. If you start transitioning them out mid-summer, they should acclimate to skipping naps all together by the time school starts.
Shop together for school supplies.
Get your child excited for the start of kindergarten by planning a back-to-school shopping excursion to buy school supplies. Some schools provide parents with a specific list of supplies, and some leave it to the discretion of the parents. Either way, let your kindergartner walk around the store with you and encourage them to pick the items from the list and put them in the cart. This will give them a sense of autonomy that they are included in the school preparation process. And of course, they will also be excited to use their new “big kid” school supplies!
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Plan a visit to the kindergarten classroom.
Some schools offer an orientation day or evening prior to the start of school. This allows parents and kids to visit their new classroom and get familiar with the space. Oftentimes this is also an opportunity for you and your child to meet teacher. In addition, you typically get a tour of the grounds and the various rooms and outdoor spaces that the kids will be immersed in once they officially start kindergarten. This can ease some of those first day jitters for your child and create a smoother transition for parents, teachers and the students!
Start a conversation about the transition to kindergarten.
The summer is prime time to start readying your little one for what’s to come. Start to get them excited about this next phase of their education by explaining what happens at kindergarten and what is expected of them. Explain that there will most likely be some homework, but also some really fun stuff like music and art and a playground! Point out to your child if some of their preschool friends will also be starting at the same kindergarten. These conversations will have your kids feeling excited about the start of kindergarten by the time it rolls around!
Keep your kids learning throughout the summer.
Although we want our kids to enjoy their final summer before entering kindergarten, they tend to lose some of the skills and lessons they learned in preschool. No need to burden them with a rigorous summertime studying routine, however, encourage them to continue reading throughout the summer. If they already know how, that’s awesome! If they haven’t yet mastered that skill, continue to read to them to keep their brains sharp. Also, the occasional worksheet or project with an educational slant is never a bad idea! Kids tend to enjoy the challenge!
Set up a homework space.
Homework in some shape or form will most likely be a part of your child’s kindergarten experience. It will likely be a super short task or worksheet but nevertheless preparing them is a great idea!
Create a homework space for your child and set out the expectations. Explain that they will need to follow certain rules regarding homework once school starts. Decide whether homework will be done as soon as the school day is done, or whether it will be after dinner or even after bath time. Helping your child understand what to expect helps them transition easier. This will also help to avoid the dreaded daily homework battle! Create a space for them with a small desk and chair, or a specific location in the house. Place all of their school supplies nearby and explain to them that this will be part of their new evening routine!
Encourage and support your child throughout the kindergarten school year…any beyond!
This will definitely be one of the bigger transitions that your child has had to deal with thus far in their lives, so be sensitive to first day jitters. Answer their questions, address their concerns and offer support and encouragement. The best reward will be knowing that you prepared your child for a smooth transition into kindergarten and created a great foundation for their education for years to come!
Please share any tips for preparing your child for kindergarten in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!
Jennifer O’Neill is an Independent Quality Provider with BabyQuip, helping families travel lighter and happier. She is a mother of two boys and enjoys working out, spending time with family and friends and of course, traveling.