Three years ago, I recall asking my mom to visit us when my eldest daughter was about to enter kindergarten. I wanted her to be with me when I walked my daughter into new classroom in her new school. For moral support, of course.
I think she cried more than I did.
In a few weeks my second child will go to school, and in honor of this milestone, I’ve come up with a few (veteran mom) tips on getting your child ready for kindergarten in the last few days before school starts.
Tip 1: Adjust their bedtime! If you’ve been on a flexible summer bedtime schedule, start easing your child back into a “school” bedtime. Figure out what time she/he needs to be awake, and work backwards on what bedtime will work. Start moving back the bedtime at least five minutes every night – start tonight!
Tip 2: Make sure you know your morning routine. Figure out how much time you need in the morning for various tasks and develop a schedule, including: picking out clothes (or will that be done the night before?) dressing; grooming (brushing teeth and hair, among other things!); getting a lunch together (if bringing from home); putting the backpack together; making and eating breakfast; and transportation time. Don’t forget to include departure.
Tip 3: Practice the morning routine. Do a few dry run-throughs in the morning to see if your time estimates hold true, and if you can indeed get to school/the bus stop/before care on time.
Tip 4: Make sure everyone in the family can see the schedule (even if they can’t read yet – use symbols!). Post the schedule where everyone in the family can see it – and in view of a digital clock, if your child can read one.
Tip 5: Eliminate any potential lunch frustration. If you send a cold lunch with your son or daughter, make sure your child can open everything you plan to put in the lunch – including items such as yogurt tubes, sandwich bags, and reusable containers – without help from a grownup.
Tip 6: Go to the library and find some books about kindergarten; tell your child about your own memories of kindergarten. It doesn’t hurt to read a few books about the first day of kindergarten, even if they are silly, or sad. Perhaps they might evoke some thoughts and feelings, and be a jumping off point for discussion. And remind your child that you were once in kindergarten, too!
Tip 7: Let your kindergartener pick something from home to bring with him/her on the first day. If you’re concerned about separation anxiety or kindergarten anxiety in general, allow your child to pick something out (small enough for a backpack) to bring a taste of home to school.
How are you preparing your child for the first day of school?