Help! My Child is Starting Kindergarten! Now What?

School is right around the corner, and your baby is headed for Kindergarten for the first time. Sometimes I think it may be more scary for us parents than for the child, but we all know it can be frightening for them too. We want our children to be prepared and feel secure when they go to school, and when they ride the bus for the first time. I have put four children through Kindergarten, and believe me I cried when each one got on the bus for the first time. It does get easier, but the hardest was when my youngest stepped on the bus for the first time. I came to realize that he was the last child, and there will be no more babies for us.

kindergardenAs parents, we often wonder if our children are developmentally and emotionally ready for Kindergarten. We want to make sure they have the skills they need to make things easier for them. In this two part series, I will share some suggestions for how you can help prepare your child for Kindergarten in all of the ways that count. Part one focuses on preparing your child emotionally, mentally and socially.

1) Talk about the fun things they will learn and do in school. - Talking to your child and re-assuring them will help them feel more at ease.  Tell them about the things they will do at school. About the fun games they will play, the new friends they will make, the things they will learn. Share some of your memories of your school days and what you experienced. Explain how a general day at school works – lessons, activities, games, snack time, lunch time, music, arts and crafts – so they have an idea of what to expect. Who knows, they may even get excited! 

2) Socialization - Some children are very shy and prefer to be by themselves.  Some may not have other siblings at home. As a result, they do not get a lot of socialization with other children or adults. Going to school for the first time, children need to be able to get along with and interact with other children. They also need to know how to listen to and mind other adults. There are a few different ways you can help your child develop their socialization skills. For example, take your child to the park and encourage them to play with other children. Know of another family down the street with a child around the same age as yours? Invite them for a play-date and encourage them to play games or even have lunch together. Leave your child with a trusted adult for a couple hours while you run errands. 

3) Visit the school -  Taking your child to see the school and meet their teacher before the big day, can make a world of difference in their confidence and comfort levels. I realize this may not always be possible, but if you can it will help. Many schools actually have an open house before Kindergarten begins for this exact reason. Make an effort to attend. If you cannot, or if your school does not offer this, see about scheduling a time with the school and teacher where you can bring your child to visit. Let them walk around the room. Show them where they will hang their coat. If  the school is an all day Kindergarten, show them where the lunchroom is. Encourage your child ask any questions of the teacher they may have. A child that is prepared is more confident. 

4) Help your child prepare for transportation - If your child will be riding the bus, you can help him or her prepare for this new experience by talking to them about it. Explain to your child what their routine will be like, such as what time they will need to be on the bus and where they will sit. Discuss rules such as staying in their seat, listening to their driver and following instructions.  Tell them what the experience may be like. To make it less scary, tell them about which friends may be on their bus too! Ask if they have any questions or concerns. Most important, you do not want your child to see any anxiety you may have as they will easily pick up on your emotions, and this could make it even harder. 

5) Discuss Fears-  Your child will most likely have some fears and this is very normal. They may worry about how they are going to find their classroom, or how they are going to get home once school gets out.  If they are riding the bus, they may worry about getting on the wrong bus. Explain to your child that someone will direct them to the correct bus (my children’s school did that with the Kindergartners). Let them know that the school has all the appropriate information on file such as phone numbers, bus number, who is picking them up, etc. so they will not get left behind or lost. It is important to stay positive for your child so that they have the same outlook and feel comfortable. 

Be sure to keep an eye out for the second part of this series where I will share some more ideas for helping your child prepare for Kindergarten.

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Tricia

Tricia

Tricia is the owner of Tricia’s Treasures and a happily married mom of four wonderful children. I have resided in SouthWest Florida for five years and originally from Massachusetts. Her favorite show to watch is Criminal Minds and also love video games.

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Comments

  1. says

    These are great tips. Watching our kids take a big, first step can be tough for the child and the parent. By preparing our kids for that step, we can help make it an easier transition.

  2. says

    Just thinking about this makes my throat tighten and makes my heart race! My son is almost 2, and I feel like Kindergarten is just around the corner for him! Such a scary thought for me. I’m sure he’ll do better about it than I will when the time comes.

  3. Sharon says

    I’ve done the kindergarten thing with all six of our kids, always broke my heart too…but we did things like this too. I was usually the one who was a wreck, not them :)

  4. Rebecca Swenor says

    Great tips for parents whose kids are starting kindergarten. I had same feeling when my youngest started kindergarten and now he will be graduating High School next year. :( :)

  5. Pam says

    Great post. One of my kids was excited to start kindergarten and get out of the house, and the other cried for a few weeks. Talking about all the fun things he would be doing was one of the only things that helped.

    • Tricia says

      Glad you enjoyed it. Hope you enjoy the second series as well. It can be terrifying and hard to watch our kids get upset and be scared. I think it sometimes is harder for us too.

  6. says

    Mine have all past this milestone but when my youngest was starting we had a week delay due to a hurricane I remember thinking when is he going to start, he must have had bad nerves too.

  7. says

    These are great tips! I remember getting all teary-eyed when my youngest got on the bus to kindergarten for the first time. Now she will be in 5th grade and is an old pro at it and this mom enjoys the peace and quiet during the day while they are all at school :)

    • Tricia says

      I can still remember them too! I am glad you enjoyed the first part of the series! Good luck to you mamas with your little ones starting Kindergarten.

    • Tricia says

      School can be a very good experience for children. Whether you are a parent of homeschooling children or public school, both are good experiences for children.

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