They’re growing up fast, Mom and Dad! The first day of kindergarten is a bittersweet day when our babies go off to big-kid school on their own.
It’s going to be tough, but there are ways for everyone to get through it in one piece. Here are some tips from ReadingRockets.org and the Illinois Early Learning Project.
As early as you can, visit the kindergarten classroom your child’s going to be in. Many schools hold a kindergarten welcome day in the summer or even the late spring. Talk to the teacher and walk around the school to give your child a good idea of all the fun they have ahead of them. Locate important places like the playground, cafeteria and bathrooms. Next, as the big day approaches, talk it out. Ask your child what they think kindergarten will be like. Be prepared to answer questions about learning materials and schedules.
It’s OK to be Not OK
Let your student know it’s OK to be anxious about the first day of kindergarten. They may be having some big feelings, and that’s OK, too. Be there for them as they talk it out with you.
Don’t discount their fears and feelings, even though they may seem trivial to you. What kind of backpack they have and what it’s like on the school bus are big things to them.
Take it Seriously
Show your student that you’re interested in what they do, even in kindergarten. Ask them who they played with, what books they read and what they learned that day. Read the teacher’s notes and keep open lines of communication so you can both send the message that school is important. Start instilling that now, and you won’t regret it later.