It wasn’t long ago that you were cradling your child in your arms and tickling her tiny little feet. Now, that precious bundle of joy has grown up and they’re ready to start kindergarten. This transition can be difficult if you don’t take the time to prepare.
To make sure that your child enters this new phase of her life with a solid social, emotional, and academic foundation, you need to make some preparations and take some actions.
Here are 10 things you can do to prepare your child for kindergarten.
10 Things to Do to Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten 1 of 12
Click through to see all 10 tips.
Image by Nadjib Aktouf via Stock.Xchng
Talk it up 2 of 12
Make your child excited about attending kindergarten by talking it up. Tell her about the fun things she will experience, the new friends she will make, and the valuable lessons she will learn. Share stories about how you felt when you first went to kindergarten. Let her know that this is a momentous occasion in her life that she should be excited about. Use a calendar to count the days until the big day to generate more anticipation.
Meet the Teacher 3 of 12
Many school districts have websites where you can view your child's teacher's profile. Log on and view this information about the teacher with your child. Let her see the teacher's picture so she knows what he/she looks like. You can also print a copy of the picture and post it on the refrigerator for your child to refer to. Some schools even have a "Meet the Teacher" event a few days before school starts. Be sure to attend with your child so you can both get acquainted with the teacher.
Visit the school 4 of 12
If your child hasn't seen her new school before, take a field trip to the school so she can see what it looks like. If it's not to far out of the way, drive by the school whenever you're out running errands with your child. Have her point it out to you and say, "That's my school." If the school is open during the summer, ask the administration to take a tour of the building.
Work on academics 5 of 12
Before school starts, read to your child (here is a list of 10 great books to start with) and work on the basic kindergarten skills. These include identifying letters of the alphabet, counting to ten, cutting with scissors, tracing basic shapes, and writing her name (visit Family Education for a more complete list). If your child can complete these basic tasks, she will be more confident and eager to start kindergarten.
Practice social skills 6 of 12
Your child will be anxious about transitioning from pre-school to kindergarten. This anxiety can manifest itself in shyness, bad behavior, or a refusal to go to school. Helping her to cope with these emotions in a positive manner will make the transition much easier. Practice social skills at home to help your child adjust to her new environment. Some important social skills to master include using words to solve problems or conflicts (no hitting or biting), following simple directions, and respecting the rights, property and feelings of others.
Schedule a playdate 7 of 12
Schedule a playdate with other kids from your child's class so they can meet one another before school starts. The first day of school will be easier to cope with if they have already established a few friendships. Planning a playdate also allows you to build connections with some of the other parents.
Image via Stock.Xchng
Enlist older siblings 8 of 12
Plan Lunches 9 of 12
Now is a great time to start planning lunches for your child. What seems like a simple task has been a thorn in many parents's sides. If you don't carefully plan, you will reach the point in the school year when you're staring into the refrigerator wondering what to pack for lunch. Find out your child's likes and dislikes and make shopping lists and meal plans with those things in mind. If you'd rather not think about planning lunches, sites such as Momables offer subscriptions for fresh school lunch menus and ideas.
Make school shopping a special occasion 10 of 12
Write down the back to school shopping date on the calendar and make it a big deal. In addition to shopping, take your child out for a special activity or special treat. While shopping, make sure she is involved. Let her pick out her clothes, school supplies, and backpack. She'll be proud of her contributions.
Image via Stock.Xchng
Do a test run 11 of 12
A few weeks before school begins, start practicing your routine. Pack a lunch the night before, wake up your child at the designated time, and go though the full school routine including getting dresses, eating breakfast, and walking to the bus stop. This dress rehearsal will help to reduce any anxiety that your child may feel about attending kindergarten.
Read More on Babble 12 of 12