Every parent can empathize with those first day of kindergarten mixed emotions. Entering the school system is a big step for both you and your child, and the anxiety that comes with it is perfectly normal. However, planning ahead can make this time less stressful for everyone involved. To get ready for your child to enter kindergarten you should:
- Schedule an appointment with your child’s pediatrician to make sure that his or her immunizations and health screenings are up-to-date.
- Give your child’s current preschool program permission to share documents and information with the new school.
- Attend an open house or schedule a tour of your child’s new school before school starts.
- Meet your child’s new teacher and share your ideas about your child’s interests, strengths and any areas of concern.
- Find out how you can become involved in your child’s classroom, school committees, and the PTA.
While getting the logistics squared away is important, taking care of your child’s emotional transition should also be a top concern. Having a successful entry into kindergarten will help your child have a positive attitude about school and learning. To get your child ready for kindergarten, you should:
- Read books about starting kindergarten.
- Talk enthusiastically with your child about starting kindergarten.
- Reassure your child’s feelings of anxiety or fear.
- Plan for your child to visit his or her new school.
- Tell your child about the kinds of work he or she will be doing in kindergarten.
- Talk about and practice new routines.
- Spend extra time on the first day of school but do not “drag out” saying good-bye.
No matter the amount of preparation, that first day of school is likely to be an emotional roller coaster. Take deep breaths, snap a photo or two and get ready for a great year!