Kindergarten can be challenging. Both for your child and you. But with the right preparation, hopefully it will be a smooth transition into elementary school. Here’s some of our advice in getting your child ready to succeed in Kindergarten.
Get your kid involved
If you’ve been out of the loop for a while, it can be hard to know what to expect when it comes to getting your little one ready for kindergarten. That’s why it’s so important to keep in touch with teachers and school administrators. They can give you an idea of what the expectations are, and make sure that you’re on the same page. But more importantly, they can tell you how to get your child involved—and that’s really going to make her feel comfortable about the transition.
Some things that teachers have told me are helpful include:
- Having kids pick out their own backpacks (See? Shopping!)
- Giving them a tour of the classroom before school starts
- Showing them around the school grounds during family events like Meet-The-Teacher Night
Include your child in daily activities
The best way to prepare your child for kindergarten is to include them in everything you do day-to-day. Start by involving them in things that are of interest to them already. If they like to help you cook, ask them to measure things or stir ingredients. If they like to garden, have them help you water and weed. Allow them to help as much as they can. This will not only get your child ready for kindergarten, but it will also build their self-esteem and confidence—they’ll be more willing to try new things because they know they can do it!
As your child grows and becomes more mature, include them in other tasks. Ask them to help you set the table or fold laundry—even if it takes longer than if you did it yourself, the time spent together will be worth it, and it’s worth teaching your child the skills they need to succeed in life.
Help them learn to get along with kids their age
Even if your child is normally quiet, shy, or reserved, you can help them learn to get along with children their age by encouraging them to try new things and approach new experiences. Talk to your child about their kindergarten classmates; they’ll probably be eager to share what they know. If your child mentions a classmate who’s difficult, talk it out. Be open and honest about how children sometimes act as a group, and let them know that you are available for support whenever they need it.
If you feel brave enough, find other kids who will be in your child’s class and plan play dates. This is a great opportunity for the kids to get acquainted before school starts. And remember: if the date goes well, the parents can make friends too!
Reassure your kids that they are safe and supported at home
Whether it’s a parent, relative, babysitter or even just a friend who comes over in the evening, it’s important that your child feels safe and supported at home. Even if they’ve been in school before and know what to expect, this is still a big change in their life that needs some extra attention from parents who care about them—especially during these early years when everything seems so overwhelming. If you are worried about how things will go when they start school again (or even just starting), talk about it ahead of time—ask questions like “What do you think will happen?” or “What are some things we can do together?”
Encourage kids to let teachers know when they need help
Most children don’t like to ask for help, but that’s a skill they’ll need to develop in kindergarten. To help them start asking for assistance, talk to your child about the importance of being able to ask teachers when they have questions. To practice, try playing a game with your child: Keep track of how often you ask each other questions as you go about your day, and tell your child when you’re curious about something. Then, encourage her to do the same. By getting used to asking for help at home first, she won’t be afraid to ask for it at school.
Encourage children to trust their own instincts, and believe in themselves
You want your child to be excited and proud when they start kindergarten, but they may not be feeling confident. They may have a lot of fears and insecurities about their ability to handle the challenges of a new environment. Some children don’t want to admit that they’re scared, so they act out instead. You can help your kids develop trust in themselves by encouraging them to be brave and patient as they take on new situations, and by making sure that you’re there for them if anything goes wrong. Here are some ways you can help them feel self-assured:
Let them know you believe in them. Tell your child that you think they are capable of handling kindergarten and their emotions—and tell them all the time! From the moment you drop them off at school until you pick them up later, let them know that you’ll be there for them no matter what happens, and that the best thing they can do is try their hardest to learn new things every day.
Your child is ready for kindergarten as long as you are confident in them too
As a parent, you know how difficult it is to let go of your child and send them off into the world. It’s a hard enough leap of faith at any age—but when they’re just entering kindergarten, and you’re expected to hand them over to complete strangers? That moment can be enough to stop your heart.
But hold on, mama: think back on the person who raised you. Did they have the knowledge and confidence they needed to not only raise you well, but also be proud of everything they did? If so, then that’s all you need to know about preparing yourself for this moment. Your child is ready for kindergarten as long as you are confident in them too.