Most children, along with their parents, feel a little jumpy on the first days of Kindergarten. A range of emotions from anxiety to excitement will be felt within the family. Some preparation will make it easier on everyone to cope with this new transition. Banish first-day jitters with our 15 ways to be ready for the brand new adventure of your children starting school.
Meet new faces
1. Whether it is Open House or Back-to-School Night, attend with your child. It will be the perfect opportunity for you and your child to get introduced to their teacher. By putting a face to a name, your child will gain some comfort from knowing who their teacher is.
2. Mingle with other parents and their kids. The more recognizable faces on the first day, the better your child will feel when they walk into the classroom.
Get familiar with the new environment
3. Look around your child’s classroom and it’s likely there will be a class schedule posted. Review this with your child, so they will know what will be expected of them throughout the day. Knowing snack and lunch times are good for you both to know in preparing for the day.
4. Take a school tour. Knowing the basics, like where the classrooms, bathrooms and playground are located is essential information for every child. A visit will give your child some visual reassurances when walking into the school on their first day.
5. Label everything. Reduce potential meltdowns over not being able to claim items by labeling all of your child’s belongings.
6. Get up early. First-day nerves can cause delays. Allow plenty of time for a relaxed breakfast, time to deal with any insecurities and to get to school on time.
7. Discuss with your child how they are feeling. If they are feeling uneasy, tell them it’s normal to be nervous and how the other kids are feeling the same way. Point out the positive aspects of starting school like how it will be fun making new friends and learning new things.
8. Leading up to the first day of school, continue to have periodic chats to ease worry and boost their spirits. Let them know you are there for them.
9. To ease some fear, try to have your child meet a classmate in your neighborhood before the first day.
10. Arrange for your child to walk or ride with another kid in the neighborhood. A traveling buddy will make it easier for your child to walk into school.
11. Practice saying good-bye. For some children, the biggest challenge could be saying good-bye to you. Set up small separations to practice saying good-bye. Develop a quick parting routine and make a swift exit.
12. Keep your feelings to yourself when you make your morning departure from your child. Don’t talk about how much you will miss your child. Don’t let your concerns become your child’s worries.
13. Give it time. For some children, it takes longer than others to adjust and get comfortable in a new environment. Anticipate some ups and downs during the first few weeks. If you have concerns about how the transition is going, reach out to your child’s teacher.
Home at last
14. Your child will need to know how they will be getting home. If you will be picking up your child, let them know you will be waiting for them in the carpool line. If your child will be riding a bus home or a van to an after-school program, explain the process and how the adults will make sure they will be safe.
15. Arrive on time for pickup. Being late will cause unnecessary stress in your child.
Now you have some ways to help your child banish those first-day fears. You can feel good that you’ve given your child more confidence to walk through the school doors to take on this exciting step in their life.
Sara is a freelance writer, and mother of two daughters.
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