Along with many other parents across the country, I’m about to send my child off to kindergarten. It’s a big step for me, and an even bigger step for him. He’s my fourth and youngest child so I wanted to share a few tips that have helped my children transition successfully into their first year of school:
- Take time to discuss what will be expected of your child in kindergarten from appropriate classroom behavior to riding the bus to eating lunch in the cafeteria.
- Often schools will give kindergartners an opportunity to visit before school starts so that children can explore their classroom, playground, cafeteria, bus location etc. This is a great opportunity for both of you to familiarize yourselves with the school.
- Buy school supplies together and allow your child to choose whenever appropriate; for example design of binder, pencil case etc.
- Roll play possible scenarios and come up with solutions together. This way your child will have the tools to respond to different situations. Anytime your child can solve a problem on their own, it builds self confidence so it’s a win win! Here are just a few questions that you can roll play and problem solve together before the big day!
- What if I need to go to the bathroom?
If they really need to go they don’t have to wait for recess, they can raise their hand and ask the teacher to use the bathroom.
- What if I don’t know which is my bus?
Work with them to learn their bus number and location. Perhaps help them find an older bus buddy.
- Where do I sit and eat my lunch?
When you visit the school, show your child the cafeteria. Unfortunately children don’t get a lot of time to eat, so make sure that they know to focus on eating their lunch and not talking too much.
- What if someone says something mean to me on the bus or at recess?
Come up with suggestions together to handle this situation whether it’s coming up with suitable response, talking to the teacher etc. If your child is part of the solution, they will feel empowered.
- What if I don’t understand what the teacher is saying or doing?
It’s the teachers job to teach you. She or he wants you to learn. If you don’t understand something, either ask the teacher during or after the class. And remind them it’s okay to make mistakes as long as they are trying.
Ask your child what other questions they may have. Make sure it’s an ongoing discussion as they will probably have more questions once school starts. Good luck and I hope your son or daughter has a rocking first year in kindergarten!
Karin Lefranc is the author of the picture book A Quest for Good Manners, winner of a Mom’s Choice Award Gold. She has just finished two other picture books–one about the color Gray and the other about a book-loving zombie!