How to Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten
With many parents across the globe getting ready to send their child off to school for the first time, it goes without saying that feelings of anxiety and worry can be prevalent.
The thought of your little one starting this new chapter of their lives can be emotional, and the practicalities of making sure they're well equipped for spending the whole day without you can be overwhelming...so lets take a look at some of the things you can focus on over the Summer to make sure that they get off to the best possible start.
Talk About School
The best way to get your child ready for school is to make sure that they understand what school is and what they should expect.
There are so many ways to do this - you might want to pick up some children’s books from the library on the subject of starting school, as this can be a great way to encourage them to ask any questions and discuss any concerns they might have. You might also introduce them to some children’s TV show episodes which show the main character starting school - shows like Charlie & Lola have some good episodes about this as well as great storybooks. Try to make sure that the stories and shows you use show school in a positive light, rather than focusing on overly worried school starters or children struggling to make friends.
As their school start date gets closer, keep talking about it in an upbeat and positive way to encourage them to feel excited about this new experience.
Encourage More Independence
A lot of parents can panic that their child needs to be able to write well, tie their own shoelaces and open their own food packets before starting school but there's no need to panic. School is there to teach your child, and they have plenty of staff on hand to help the little ones with these very common problems.
Instead try to focus on some more simple tasks that could make a big difference - such as encouraging children to learn how to write and recognize their first name, and perhaps focus on encouraging them to understand numbers up to 10 if possible.
You could also encourage them to practice more independence with every day tasks such as hand washing, cleaning themselves up after using the bathroom and dressing themselves as this will go a long way in improving their self confidence.
Before the big first day, it's worth trying to make certain aspects of school life more familiar. You might allow them to wear their school uniform around the house once or twice so that they get used to how it feels, perhaps you want to have a few "lunch box" lunches at home so that they get used to using theirs and figuring out what they like to have in it, and maybe try to do a few practice school-runs so that they get familiar with the route and what the building looks like.
The more familiar the experience is to them, the less overwhelming that first day will be.
Practice Making Friends
If possible, try to ask the school if there's a way to connect with other new starters before the term starts as if you can set up some play dates before hand then your child will likely feel more comfortable as they'll be familiar with some of the children in their class before they start.
Even if this isn't possible, you can use story books and pretend play to help your child understand how to make new friends - playing a game of school at home with their toys can be a great way to demonstrate how to attract friends, by being friendly and smiley as well as practising some good conversation starters.
It goes without saying that your child's first day at school is likely to be just as emotional for you as it is for them, but although it's tempting to make a big fuss of that first goodbye it probably won't be that good for your little one who may be dealing with nerves of their own.
Instead try to keep the mood on the day light and upbeat, let them know that you're excited to see them after school and hear all about their first day, and try to send them on their way with a smile - you can always have your little cry later!
Hayley McLean is a hypnotherapist, a mum of 3 young children, and a blogger. After having 3 babies in the space of 3 years, Hayley uses her blog to share her experiences and tips for parents everywhere on all aspects of family life and raising children.