Going to the first day of kindergarten is a monumental step in the life of any child. For many children, it represents their first opportunity to spend an extended period of time away from their home and family; and even for those who went to preschool, kindergarten generally maintains a more structured environment wherein children have the ability to learn and play with their peers.
Of course, while it may seem exciting to send your little one off to kindergarten this year, it also requires significant planning. To be sure, there are many surprises that your child will certainly encounter for which he or she may not be prepared.
Are you about to send a child off to his or her first day of school? If so, remember that this August is “Get Ready for Kindergarten Month” – and, as such, we have prepared a list of five simple tips to help ensure your child is ready for anything.
1. Visit the School Beforehand
Has your child had a chance to see the school in which he or she will be spending a majority of his or her time this upcoming year? If not, consider taking some time before the summer ends to visit the school together to help both of you develop a solid sense of both the inside and outside of the buildings. You may be able to take your child on a tour of the school building to show him or her the classrooms and the layout of the school. And even if you aren’t presented with the opportunity to step inside, you can still bring your child across the playground and the school property to make him or her more comfortable with the new surroundings. Doing so will help ensure that your child does not feel uncomfortable or afraid when he or she starts on the first day.
2. Try the Routine the Week Before
Will you have to leave the house at 7:00 exactly in order to drop your child off at school in time? Or will you be sending him or her to school on a bus that arrives close to the front door? One week before school starts, wake up in the morning and replicate the routine that he or she can expect during the first year of kindergarten. Have breakfast together, instill a sense of urgency, and be out the door at an appropriate time. If you plan on driving him or her to school, hop in the car together at 7:00 and go run errands. Or, if he or she will be taking the bus, take a trial bus ride together to help your child know what to expect.
3. Set the Right Sleep Schedule
It is absolutely imperative that your child gets enough sleep at night to ensure that he or she can succeed throughout his or her first year of kindergarten. And the best time to adjust to a new sleep schedule is the months and weeks before. If your child has a skewed schedule, or is used to staying up later, begin to adjust his or her sleep schedule to ensure he or she can wake up on time and has ample energy to get ready for school.
4. Read Together
It will quickly become apparent that one of the most important skills that is developed throughout kindergarten is reading. Some children at this age have just begun to learn how to read, while others may already excel; either way, helping your child to read beforehand will ensure he or she can remain ahead of the curve.
So this August, sit down together and read back and forth. And to add to the excitement, pick up a few books about kindergarten to read to help your child know what to expect.
5. Relax and Get Ready for an Adventure
Above all, it is most important that you relax and understand that no amount of prior preparations can truly prepare your child for his or her first experience at school. While you can do everything in your power to ensure that your child has all of the tools necessary to succeed, all of the planning is no replacement for the experience itself. During the first day of kindergarten your child will have the opportunity to make a host of new friendships and spend time with people who may in fact become your little one’s closest friends throughout the rest of his or her life. Make sure to take a step back and enjoy this moment while it lasts.
Getting Ready for Kindergarten
Are you about to send your child off to the first day of kindergarten? Consider these tips to help you prepare together and get ready for this once-in-a-lifetime experience that you can share as a family.