Summers winding down and the first day of school is around the corner. Here are some tips for making that first day as smooth and enjoyable as possible for kindergartners new to school:
Get immunized: Make sure your child is ready to start the school year by visiting your pediatrician and getting the required vaccinations for school enrollment.
Set your clocks for school schedules: A good night’s sleep helps young students to succeed in the classroom. Put children on a schedule before school starts and have them go to bed and wake up earlier. Let your child become involved with picking clothes – lay them out the night before.
Prepare for the separation. If possible, visit the new kindergarten setting with your child. Introduce your child to the teacher or early childhood professional in advance. Arrange a play date with another child from the program or class so that your child will see a familiar face when walking through the door the first day.
Eat breakfast: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you are not able to provide a healthy breakfast, contact your school to learn more about free breakfast programs available for your child.
Read together: Try to read with your child daily. Reading together helps your child get a head start at learning and helps prepare him or her for reading and listening to stories in the future. Even a few minutes of reading time each day improves a child’s readiness for school.
Take an adventure together: Before school starts and on weekends, try visiting places where you and your child can learn together, such as museums, libraries and parks. Later you may ask, “What was something you learned today?”
Always say good-bye to your child: Be firm, but friendly about separating. Never ridicule a child for crying. Instead, make supportive statements like, “it’s hard to say good-bye.” Be enthusiastic. If you are excited and confident, your child will be, too.
For more information about helping your child prepare for kindergarten, see First 5 blogs on the Kindergarten Readiness Act (with a list of skills teachers would like children to have entering kindergarten) and things parents can do to help children start fully prepared.