Kindergarten is a very important step in any child’s life. Even if your child has already been to preschool, kindergarten will still be a very big change in their daily routine. It’s important to take steps to prepare your child for kindergarten to make the transition as smooth as possible for both of you. Here are some tips to help get your child ready for their first day of kindergarten.
Visit the school together
One of the best ways to get your child ready for kindergarten is to take them to visit their new school before the first day. Most schools will allow you to schedule a visit, and some even offer guided tours for this purpose. This will help your child get more familiar with their new surroundings in a low-pressure situation. If your child is feeling particularly scared of going to kindergarten, visiting the school can show them that there isn’t anything to fear and help them relax.
Answer your child’s questions calmly
Children will often look to their parents for cues in a stressful situation. If you’re feeling nervous, your child might pick up on that and feel stressed as a result. Your child will likely have plenty of questions about kindergarten before they go. Answer their questions in a calm and reassuring manner, and encourage them to ask their teachers and classmates for help if they have any questions while they are there. This will help them feel more confident in their social skills and remind them that it’s okay to use other people as a resource when they get stuck. Prepare for the possibility that your child might cry or get upset during the early days of kindergarten, and remember that the tears will pass once they become familiar with the routines of kindergarten.
Give your child the opportunity to make their own choices
In kindergarten, your child will be given much more independence than they are used to. A good way to help them get used to this is to give them the opportunity to make simple choices throughout the day. For example, give them a few different options for breakfast and ask them which one they would like to eat. You can also have them choose their own outfit for the first day of school, or let them participate in supply shopping by choosing their own backpack or lunchbox. These little choices will boost their confidence and help them feel a little more independent.
Establish morning and bedtime routines ahead of time
Young children thrive when they have regular routines they can rely on. In the weeks leading up to their first day of school, maintain a steady morning routine and bedtime routine. In the morning, plan time to eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, and pack the backpack. You should also practice walking to the bus stop or driving to school so they know what to expect. For a bedtime routine, practice taking a bath or shower, brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, and reading a bedtime story. Make sure your child avoids watching TV or playing video games in the hours leading up to bedtime, as it can keep them awake longer.