Up until around their 5th birthday, kids spend every waking moment with a caregiver nearby, often at home. Their world is small and secure, just as they like it. Then comes school— which is exciting for many kids but may also seem scary. Spending that much time away from their parents and house seems inconceivable.
Here are a few tips on how to prepare for your child’s first day of kindergarten:
Walk Through the School, Meet Their Teacher
One of the scariest parts about school is that it happens in a place other than home. While kids with older siblings may have some exposure to school, only children and first-born kids may each benefit from visiting their school before they begin the year, perhaps during an orientation. Walking the hallways and having their parent nearby to reassure them will help them feel more comfortable with the whole process.
An even better tip is to meet their teacher. These introductions stave off any of your child’s worries that their teacher is some larger-than-life, scary person. Though tours and teacher meetings may not be possible due to the current pandemic, make sure to take full advantage if they are available. If they aren’t available, try to arrange a video meeting instead.
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Talk About What It’ll Be Like
You should also engage in conversations before and after this in-person walkthrough. Kids need to process their emotions, and they need a trusted guardian to help them do so. Be sensitive about questions and prepare to listen to their concerns, even if they seem insignificant. If your child feels in control of the conversation, they’ll likely start to grow more comfortable with the thought of heading off to school.
Given the unique circumstances this year, make sure to leave extra space for conversation about Coronavirus. These conversations allow you to calm your child’s fears a bit while reinforcing the need for them to take preventative measures such as wearing their mask and staying six feet away from other students.
Buy and Organize Their School Supplies Together
Our last piece of advice on preparing for your child’s first day of kindergarten is to buy and assemble their school supplies together. This step also affords your child control over the process. If they get a few school items they enjoy, such as a Star Wars-themed lunch box, they’ll be more likely to look forward to starting school.
As you shop, create a plan for color-coding the folders, art supplies, and other items they’ll use every day. This is wise because color has huge benefits on learning, memory, and organization. The school will seem more fun when they have a colorful system to keep their things in order so they can focus more on learning.
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