For some kids, kindergarten may be the first time they are leaving home for full days. It’s an exciting transition period where kids can gain a sense of independence, but it can also be a scary time for young children.
While some children may be very excited about kindergarten, others could experience a lot of anxiety about being away all day.
The following tips will help you smooth over the transition and prepare your child for kindergarten.
Pre-School/ Day Care
Attending pre-school or daycare before heading to kindergarten can help kids with the transition. Kids who attend some form of care outside the home before kindergarten will be used to the structure and separation from parents. Nowadays, many kids attend pre-school and daycare because their parents need child care. Even if you are able to stay home with kids or have a family member watch them, pre-school (at least part-time) can be very helpful.
Visit the School
Schools are aware of the challenges kindergarten brings for many kids and parents, and many offer events for incoming kindergarten students. If possible, visit the school with your child and meet the teacher. You can look at the classroom setup, talk with the teacher about what to expect, and explore the gym. Doing this together can also give your child a sense of comfort as they tread the new territory.
Talk About What to Expect
For young children, the uncertainty of kindergarten is part of what is scary. Talk about what kindergarten is like. Allow your child to ask questions, and involve them in getting school supplies together. This is a great time to speak with an older sibling or other kid relative about their kindergarten experience.
Develop Independence at Home
In kindergarten, kids are expected to be able to use the bathroom and eat lunch by themselves. Help your child develop independence prior to kindergarten by encouraging him or her to pick out clothes, use the bathroom alone, put on/tie shoes, etc. Encourage your child to use utensils and clean up after eating. On the same note, teachers understand that kindergarteners are young children who may still need help. While you work to foster independence in your child, also teach them when and how to ask for help from an adult.
Kindergarten is a huge milestone for parents and kids. For both parties, it can be a mix of so many emotions, including fear or anxiety. Taking the steps to prepare your child for kindergarten will make the transition smoother and help you both enjoy the process!