It’s that time of the year when parents start thinking about the end of the school year and the decisions they need to make about pre-K or Kindergarten. Many questions come to mind: Will my child be ready to start in a classroom with a different routine? Is she learning everything she needs for Kindergarten readiness? Should I hold him back a year and wait for him to mature some more?
Many parents worry about their child’s first day in kindergarten, because they are concerned that the child might feel scared or lost, or that learning to get along with a group of new children might be overwhelming. Most children do just fine and are excited about entering into this new phase of their learning!
Here are 3 simple ideas to help you (and your child) prepare for the transition:
- Keep it upbeat and positive. Keeping the topic of school positive and exciting is crucial. Make sure that anxiety and stress do not influence your child's feelings about starting school.
- Be Sensitive. Validate your child's fears and reassure him that it is going to be all right. Make sure to remind him that he has succeeded in new challenges in the past, and will be fine with this new challenge too. You can use yourself as an example: share how you have been nervous in the past too about starting something new, like a new class, a new neighborhood or a new job. Also, remind your child of situation when he had felt the “jitters” in the past and how he handled it well, like a little league game or a piano recital.
- Adjust Schedules Early. Don't wait until the day before school starts to give your child an earlier bedtime or wake up call. It will make everyone’s morning a lot less stressful if your child knows in advance what’s expected of him that first day of school.