September will be here before you know it! Is your little one making the big jump to kindergarten? Getting ready for kindergarten is exciting, but also nerve racking for parents and children. Take a deep breath and know that your little baby, now all grown up, will do great! Let us help by offering these tips to prepare your family for the first day!
1. Start Bedtime & Morning Routines
Children will need to help at bedtime and in the morning to make sure you all get out the door on time. To get ready for kindergarten, start now to maintain a consistent routine before school begins. At night start bath an hour before bedtime. Follow up with having your child set their clothes out for the next day and make sure their backpack is packed and by the door. They can also help choose 2 snacks for their lunchbox. Parents you should prep as much of the lunchbox the night before as possible. Then you can end your day with a story or common family routine.
Parents when you wake up you should check the weather to know what kind of jacket and shoes are going to be needed that day. When it’s time to wake the kids, give two options for breakfast. While they’re getting dressed and use the bathroom, you can put breakfast on the table. After ask the kids to brush their teeth when you put the final touches on their lunches. Now all that is left is outdoor clothing and off you go!
2. Read Books About Getting Ready for Kindergarten
Bibliotherapy is a way to use books to offer support to a child struggling with a specific topic or prepare them for an activity such as going to school or the dentist for the first time. Here are some great books that help discuss what happens at school. If your child has a favorite character such as Little Blue Truck or Curious George, books about going to school with these characters make the topic even more fun!
3. Practice Advocating For Oneself
As your child’s parent you often know what they need before they open their mouth. Their teacher will have other students to care for and won’t know your child as well. Teach your child to listen to directions, but ask for clarity if they don’t understand. You can do this with a fun game of Simon Says. Give some specific instructions and some vague; if the child’s action shows they didn’t fully understand then pause the game to tell them what they could have asked.
In addition, your child needs to learn how to ask for help. At home, if you see your child struggling with opening a bag of snacks, you may jump right in. At school they will need to raise their hand or go to the teacher’s desk and verbalize what they need. You could play doll house or act with puppets. This gives the child to share concerns through a pretend object and you may learn that they are worried about raising their hand and talking in front of others. You can pretend to be the student and have them be the teacher and act out successfully asking for help or what happens if you are too shy and do not speak up.
4. Read Together!
Although you aren’t expected to teach your child to read, instilling positive literacy habits is a great start when getting ready for kindergarten! Read with your child everyday. Point to words as you say them and pause if there is a rhyming word next that they may be able to guess. If there are repetitive words point them out and your child may begin to recognize them. Talk about the title of the book, what letters do they see, any that are in their name? And ask open ended questions about what they think might happen next or why a character feels sad, excited, or mad. This will get your child actively involved while you are reading. Most of all, make reading fun!
5. Play Educational, Fun Games!
If your child has had a laid back Summer, that is great! Now is the time to start trickling in some educational games to get their wheels turning so they aren’t exhausted on the first day. Learning should be fun, so there is no need to sit down and do worksheets. Get outside and count the flowers to practice math skills, measure how high they can build a block tower, or play a board game that require reasoning, counting spots, and waiting your turn. Here are 5 back to school educational games that your kids will have a blast with!
Try these tips and be sure to talk about all the fun things they will do in school. Discuss the teacher’s name and if they know anyone in their class. Children like to know what is coming, so the more you can tell them the better. In addition read, 10 Tips: Easing Separation Anxiety in Preschool and Kindergarten Kids.
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About The Author
Kelsey Dickson has over 15 years of experience working with children as a nanny, preschool teacher, and now a mother. She has her degree in Early Childhood Education and works for Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny as the eLearning Manager. Check out our online childcare classes, such as Baby Sign Language and Sleep Coaching 101! In her free time she enjoys gardening with her son, going for walks with her husband and dog, and discovering local wineries in New England.