Tips on preparing your child (and you) for kindergarten. Sniff, sniff.

At the end of this month, many of you will be sending off your little ones to officially start kindergarten. Kindergarten? What? Weren’t they just eating veggie puffs out of the tray in his Excersaucer?

As parents, we find ourselves wanting try and prepare our kids ahead of time so that they never has a single negative experience at school (this can happen, right?). We long for them to go bounding into that new classroom ready to meet, greet, paint, write and play like a Rockstar. We want them to approach this new experience with curiosity and excitement and feel the thrill of learning and growing and making new friends. You know, normal kindergarten behavior.

In the months and days leading up to their first day in school, here are a few tips I’ve found that will help BOTH of you ready yourselves for this new adventure.

Hop On The Bus
If your child will be taking the bus to school, it’s a good time to discuss appropriate behavior and safety tips. Staying seated, keeping their hands to themselves, using inside voices and deflecting arguments. If possible, scout out an older child in the neighborhood that can serve as their “chaperone” on the bus until they get comfortable with this new mode of transport. Some schools will even allow for a tour of the school bus, call your school to find out more.

Homework. Yup, already.
Personally, I’m a firm believer that homework in kindergarten is a way to encourage (ok, force) parents to get involved with their child’s education and academic development. Get ready for required homework time now by carving out time during the week to sit with your child and practice writing, word identification and simple math equations. Having a leg up on this stuff will build their confidence within the classroom and within themselves.

Lunchtime!
If your child attended preschool, they’re comfortable eating amongst a group of other children; however their food intake is monitored and encouraged by their teachers. Public schools don’t have the manpower to oversee the consumption levels for each child in the cafeteria. Talk with your kids about the importance of eating a full and balanced lunch which will give them energy for the whole day. If you plan on packing a lunch, shop with your kids and allow them to choose what ends up in their lunch box. Check out our lunch box page for ideas.

I Can Do It Myself
Practice self-help skills. Teachers don’t have a lot of time to help each individual child, so make sure your child can zip, button, tie shoes, and tell which shoe goes on which foot. And make sure your child is independent in using the bathroom and washing hands.

Pack Your Bags
I have a strict “no character” clothing or accessory rule in my house…except for school. When we go shopping for her new backpack, if it’s the Ariel bag she wants, it’s the Ariel bag she’ll get. Kids use these items to express their personalities, preferences and interests. They become conversation pieces for making friends and learning about each other. And she loves it. Whatever works!

Open Your Trap
Don’t forget to talk to your child about their expectations, fears and questions they may have about their new school. Make them feel safe and secure in their new environment and share your excitement with them about this new endeavor. And, remember how impressionable they are—now’s not the time to tell them about your traumatic playground experience from the 1st grade. Leave your war stories for another time. If you maintain a positive attitude, they’ll do the same.

See you in the fall!

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