Beginning kindergarten is a childhood milestone – here are some tips to help make it go smoothly
Families can’t prepare for everything, but you can prepare for some certain scenarios your child will encounter in kindergarten. Of course 2020 brings extra challenges.
Do you have a child going into kindergarten? Well, it’s almost time to sent that little one out to school. Even if your child has attended preschool or other early learning program, this is a major milestone.
Thank you to Christie Clinic for presenting our 2020 Champaign-Urbana Area Back to School series.
Christie Clinic is encouraging parents to schedule a school physical soon.
Starting school physical appointments now will allow Christie Clinic Department of Pediatrics and Department of Family Medicine to best serve all patients while maintaining a safe visit environment. Enhanced precautions are in place to keep patients and team members safe including additional hours, visitor restrictions and social distancing to reduce the number of people in our facilities.
Parents can currently make back-to-school appointments for their children through their MyChristie patient portal or online at christieclinic.com.
Here’s a few (veteran mom) tips on getting your child ready for kindergarten in the last few weeks before school starts. These tips are focused on some practical stuff to make sure your child is successful in those first few weeks with just the basics – getting up on time, knowing the morning routine, being able to eat lunch quickly.
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. Depending on your schedule this summer, you might to need to start sooner than later! (This goes for all kids, not just kindergarten.)
Tip 2: Get into the building, if possible. 2020 circumstances may make this more of a challenge, but we know our schools care deeply about our youngest students and expect there will still be opportunities to visit school ahead of the big day. If you child isn’t familiar with the building, call and ask for a tour. Most buildings have summer hours, so they’re not completely closed. Just make sure to explain to your kiddo in advance what’s happening. Often it might be the principal who is working in the school, so might be a good opportunity to meet him or her.
Tip 3: Take advantage of any back to school activities your school offers, ahead of the first day. This year, this may look like a phone call or video chat with the teacher. Opportunities will vary school to school. Some schools have open houses or back-to-school nights before the first day. Others have socials. If you don’t know, call the building office. This can vary building by building, even in the same district.
Tip 4: If there aren’t any back to school activities planned, make your own. Plan a casual (social distanced) playdate or drive past the school playground. Just set a time and pass the word to other kindergarten parents, who may know other parents they can invite. If you don’t know anyone, if you contact the building, ask if there is any way they can help contact parents. Parents are recommended to take 2020-appropriate precautions, playing at a distance and wearing masks if you’re within close distance.
Tip 5: 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 6: Practice the morning routine. Do a few (or more) 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 7: 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 8: Eliminate any potential lunch frustration. If you send a cold lunch with your student, 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 9: Practice eating lunch with your child in 15 minutes or less. Many schools have short lunch periods, even for kindergarteners. Find out how long your child has for eating lunch, and then set a timer when your child eats. For some kids, this isn’t a problem. Others might struggle. Of course, it’s hard to simulate the hustle and bustle of the school, but this is more about time than anything else.
Tip 10: 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!
Read our whole back to school series:
Part 1 — Back to School: School Physicals Required for Illinois Schoolchildren
Part 2 — Back to School: Immunizations Required for Illinois Schoolchildren
Part 3 — Back to School: Champaign-Urbana Area School Registration Information
Part 4 — Back to School: Champaign-Urbana Area School Start Dates
Part 5 — Back to School: Dental, Vision Exams Required for Illinois Schoolchildren
Part 6 — Back to School: Top Nine Tips to Prepare for a Return to School Routine
Post 7 — Back to School: Eight Things You Didn’t Know You Needed
Post 8 — Back to School: Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten