Starting kindergarten can be daunting, both for children and their parents. School is definitely a “big kid” activity and something that should be looked upon without too much anxiety from the outset. Here, parenting expert NJ Rongner shares five valuable tips that parents can use before the first day of school to prep themselves and their family for a child’s first day of Kindergarten!
Author of ‘A Cookie Before Dinner‘
Holyoke, MA 01040
NJ Rongner is a prolific parenting writer on her blog ‘A Cookie Before Dinner.’ In addition to providing valuable advice and ideas to thousands of moms and dads across the northeast through her blog, NJ is also makes regular appearances on WWLP’s Mass Appeal to discuss some of her best parenting tips! You can see a clip of her sharing some parenting hacks here. And now, let’s dive in: here are NJ’s top five tips for getting your child ready for Kindergarten!
Keep any negative feelings about your little baby growing up too fast and going to school to yourself. Kids totally pick up on the vibe you put out to them and they look to you for how they should feel about something. They definitely shouldn’t go into kindergarten thinking it might be a bad thing! Instead, build excitement around the big event by talking positively about it. Their excitement and joyful vibes may even spread to you!
Incorporate books about Kindergarten into your summer reading routine. You don’t have to announce “and now it is time to read books about Kindergarten” to them. Instead, work them into your already existing story rotation. ‘The Night Before Kindergarten‘ and ‘Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready For Kindergarten‘ are two of my favorites because they focus on what happens as you get ready to go to school. Books like this will also help build upon that positive energy you started in tip 1.
Establish the new school routine well in advance. At least two weeks before school starts, practice with your child going through all of the steps of getting out the door and on time from waking up to putting their backpack on and heading out the door. Do it at the time of day that you’d actually be leaving and if you can, leave the house at the end of it. There are a lot of moving parts to getting everyone out the door and on time and it can be stressful. Repetition builds muscle memory for you and your child. You can’t expect your child to go and find his backpack if he’s never gone through the process of doing it before! By practicing ahead of time, you’ll reduce everyone’s stress when the big day comes!
Give your child a mantra to repeat when their unsure of things and you’re not there to comfort them. In our house, we use “I can do hard things” and “I am nervous but I will be brave.” Talk with your child about all of the new things they will be able to do at school and remind them that it is okay to feel unsure of things… that’s something that their new friends will feel too! And hey – mantras can be helpful for moms too!
Embrace your child’s school community. Reach out to someone on the PTA to see if their are any summer play dates to join in on. Spend time playing on the school playground and exploring the ground. If your school hosts a back to school work day or a meet the teacher night, go for it! Getting to know the classrooms, playgrounds, and teachers before day one will help ease your child’s kindergarten jitters. Secret tip: Most teachers are back to school about a week before the kids arrive. They are busy at school already getting their classroom ready and participating in training. This means that the school is likely open and if you’ve got a child who will especially benefit from getting to see his or her classroom ahead of time, stop in the office and see if it is possible to make it happen.
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