Full-day kindergarten: Tips for prepping your child

Is your child starting all-day kindergarten? Try these tips for a smooth transition.

Photo: iStockphoto
Photo: iStockphoto

Starting kindergarten can be momentous—for you and your child. Your child is leaving the nest. OK, well, leaving just for the day, but leaving nevertheless, through the front door of the school at the mere sound of a bell—not to be seen again for some seven hours.

It’s hard on many of us parents, but you can ease the anxiety for you and your child with these tips.

1. Familiarize yourselves with the school and its routines
If the school offers a kindergarten orientation, go! If the principal will allow you and your child to visit the school the week before classes start, do it! And if you can get a class schedule in advance, try mimicking some of the routines, like having lunch at home at the same hour it will begin at school, and adjust your nap or quiet time to what your child can expect at school. If the school doesn’t allow for a nap time, you may want to stop or shorten the nap and plan an activity for that time, or have a rest time instead, when your child could do a puzzle or some other quiet activity on his own.

2. Reduce early morning stress
While the idea of making a sandwich doesn’t sound so stressful, waking up your child in a deep slumber, making his or her lunch, getting said child dressed and fed and to the school on time can lead to sheer panic, especially if you’re ill-prepared. Try getting your child`s snack and lunch ready the night before and laying out your child’s clothes at the same time. To avoid your child being exhausted at wake up time, start putting your child to bed earlier and getting him up earlier before summer ends.

3. Cut down on first-day jitters
If you know ahead of time who will be in your child’s class or even school, then arrange a playdate before school starts. When I was looking for a life partner/husband, my sister used to tell me, “it only takes one.” The same is true in kindergarten. If your child even has one friend to play with at recess, the day will likely run more smoothly.

4. Practise some basic reading and math skills
Practising some basic skills can help your child feel more confident on day one. Start getting her to identify the first letter of street or store signs or the letters on the cereal box. Encourage her to count out change in your purse, and do exercises on the site Starfall.com. But if your child starts losing interest in the lesson, simply stop and keep learning fun.

This article was originally published in August 2012.

Read more:
12 things I learned from my daughter’s first year of school
Getting ready for the first day of kindergarten
13 math workbooks for kids

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