It’s hard to believe my little daughter is heading into third grade next week. Just yesterday, it seems I was preparing to send her to kindergarten. Since it’s been a few years since we began this journey, I thought I’d share a few tips on how I prepared for her first year in school.
Starting Kindergarten: Tips for parent and child
‘I’m ready momma… it’s time to wake up!’
My five year old giggles as she mushes my face with sloppy morning kisses, “I love you, love you, LOVE you!!” she exclaims as she jumps out of bed and runs to put on her clothes.
She’d picked out her outfit the night before and she was already dressed before I manage to reach the kitchen.
I am not a morning person. But her excitement lifts my morning fog.
‘This is going to be soooo good!’ she says as she grabs her kitty-cat backpack and pulls my hand towards the door.
“Come on momma, your wasting time!’
We arrive at school and walk her into her kindergarten classroom. It’s buzzing with children, while parents snap photos of their kiddos and others attempt hiding tears from their children. I choke back a few proud tears myself, as we watch our joyous girl giggle as she finds her desk. She smiles proudly as she takes her seat & puts on her name tag.
She is ready for this day even if we are not.
Starting kindergarten is bittersweet. Some parents achieve a new found freedom at this stage while others find they are now confined within the parameters of the school day. To be quite honest, I can’t quite tell if I am coming or going and I already miss our mornings together.
Survival Tips for Starting Kindergarten:
- Preschool. Any amount of preschool will help prepare your child to feel comfortable in a class room environment. Even summer camp before kindergarten can make a big difference. This also helps parents develop coping skills and understanding of what to expect once school officially starts.
- Positive Affirmations. Speaking positive affirmations daily will remind you both that you are ready for this change. Praise them for exhibiting positive, independent behaviors
Practice. practice, practice! We play school around here.. a lot. But we also practice how we handle situations when someone is mean to you. My daughter thinks this is fun and it helps her develop confidence to speak up for herself and resolve her own situations without tears. We take turns being the ‘mean’ kid and ‘nice’ kid.
- Mean kid: ‘You aren’t my friend, I don’t want you playing over here.’
- Response: ‘That’s ok, I have plenty of friends. Besides I’m the boss of me and you are the boss of you.‘
Play dates. Lots of them. This helps your child transition from spending all of their playtime with you to playing independently with other kids.
- Parent Tip: Try to let them resolve differences on their own. When you hear your child arguing with another child, don’t be so quick to fix the problem for them. Give them some time to settle it on their own before inserting yourself into the situation.
- Rip it off like a band aid! The first day is usually harder for parents than the kids. When you drop off, quickly say your goodbyes. And say something positive about your child, ‘Go get ’em tiger! You’ve got this!’
- No crying in front of the kid. Hold back the tears until you leave. You want to leave on a positive note and your tears will confuse your child. They can’t comprehend the complex emotions that make this sad for us; so be certain they see you leave happy and confident that they can do this on their own!