When my first child started kindergarten, I was almost devastated. I had known for several months that the day was quickly approaching and I had been doing everything that I could to make the transition easy for him but it was still hard to acknowledge that my little boy was growing up. He was going to be a big school kid and as often as I had said it to him; I had somehow forgotten to tell myself that he was a big kid.
Still, despite all my apprehensions and worries, my little boy successfully started kindergarten and much of the reason for that success was in the preparation that began months before school started.
Preparing for school is one of the key elements in ensuring that your child is able to start on a positive note. All children, unless they are home schooled, will go through the developmental transitions from home to school and even children that have been in daycare will experience a bit of trepidation over starting in “big kid” school. The first few months can be a difficult time for everyone but there are a few things that can help your child with the whole transition of growing up and starting school.
Try to establish a routine before school starts that you will use throughout the school year. Bedtime should be at a specific time and the week should be planned out to accommodate the impending school year. Some things will change after your child starts school but if the main parts of the routine are still there; your child will feel much more secure with the other changes.
Research the school:
As a parent, sending your child to school for the first time can be a pretty scary endeavour. No longer will you have complete control over what will be happening in your child’s world and soon enough your child will have two worlds to draw experiences from. Being prepared about what will happen keeps your anxiety levels down, which in turn will keep your child’s anxiety levels at a minimum.
Check with the school and be clear of the date your child starts, the days that your child are at school, the time of drop off and pick up, the policies involved in pick up and the size of the classes. Find out about the teacher and if it is possible, try to find out a few things about the children that will be in your child’s class.
Talk about school:
Take the time to talk to your child about school and what will happen as he starts kindergarten. Talk about things he will learn, people he will meet and also what to expect during the day; specifically about pick up and drop off. If all of his questions are answered, he will feel more confident about starting school.
Build on skills:
One of the best ways to prepare your child for school is to start working on school work at home. This helps him build his concentration and the amount of time that he can sit still and do some work. Practice printing, letter recognition, and counting with your child. If possible, purchase an exercise book that provides sheets for kindergarten learning.
Also help your child build on social skills. Make sure he can say his name and also knows his last name and phone number. Take him places, such as play groups, where he can learn how to introduce himself and build friendships with other children around him.
Starting school can be a pretty big step for both parents and children but by preparing for school, you can make it a positive step.