Can you believe it? Back-to-school is officially here. Do you have a soon-to-be kindergartener? If so, here are some tips to help you prepare your child for the big leap into Kindergarten.
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This summer we worked to prepare our youngest for kindergarten. Of course, we are practicing our ABC’s and one, two, three’s but more importantly we are working to make her independent. We are showing her how to confidently leave the nest and function on her own. We are practicing how to do skills independently and how to ask for help when needed.
A couple of times a week, I pack my daughter’s lunch in her lunchbox. Sometimes, we go on picnics and sometimes we eat lunch at home. I have taught her to open her own lunch, unwrap a cheese stick, use utensils, refill her water bottle and throw her trash away. My daughter also hates dirty hands, so learning how to open, use and dispose of a wet wipe was also a high priority.
In the bathroom, we are learning self care. I consider it a potty training refresher. We practice wiping thoroughly, washing our hands till we finish the alphabet, blowing our own nose and buttoning our pants independently. I know it seems silly, but imagine you’re a teacher and having to do each of these tasks for twenty-five students.
Learning responsibility is a work in progress at our house but a checklist and labels have been a huge help. We have a checklist in our mudroom for the kids before they leave for school or sports. Are you prepared to start the day? Do you have your lunch, water, backpack and homework? Go through the checklist with your kindergartener and help them get into the responsibility routine and make sure to label everything. I even have a spare change of clothes labeled in case my daughter has an accident.
I have also assigned my daughter chores to help around the house. She will have a new routine in school and she will be responsible for helping her teacher in the classroom. Doing chores around the house like wiping down the counters after meals, putting her toys away and watering our plants are simple chores to help her transition to the classroom.
Rest and Routine
August is almost here and it’s the perfect time to start winding down summer. As we inch closer to the start of school, we establish a school routine. Bedtime is no longer flexible. Sleep is so important especially for our littles, who are using all their energy at kindergarten. Setting a school schedule early helps everyone transition out of summer. Morning routines are also important. The summer days of hanging out in our pajamas, watching tv and eating breakfast whenever are over. It’s time to get back into the swing of things. Waking up, getting dressed and eating breakfast starts August first.
Prepping for the First Day
My youngest is so lucky. She’s been to school and seen it through her older sibling. I bet I won’t even have to walk her to the classroom on the first day. However, if this is your first experience with Kindergarten, it might be a little overwhelming. . In the weeks leading up to the first day, read to your kindergartener, plan a visit to the classroom, meet your teacher and arrange playdates with fellow classmates. The more familiar faces your child sees on the first day, the easier the transition will be.
Kindergarten is a huge transition so remember to have patience and understanding. It takes a kindergartner about six weeks to adjust to the schedule. There will be tears, outbursts and bad behavior at home. It’s okay. Remember, they are going to school all day and having to sit for long periods, be good listeners and keep their hands and feet to themselves. That’s hard work! Let them have their safe space at home to get it all out. It’s a major milestone in life and it takes time for everyone to adjust. Give yourself and your kindergartener time and love to succeed.