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Tips for the Kindergarten Parent


Starting kindergarten is a big transition for most children because it is the start of a new experience in a new environment.  Children may be very anxious about entering kindergarten because they are fearful of the unknown.   It is also a big transition for parents, because you begin to realize how quickly your child is growing up and becoming more independent.   It is extremely important for parents to take a proactive role in assisting their children to help them adjust to kindergarten and to enjoy the new journey that they are about to embark on.

Helpful tips for the kindergarten parent:

  • Help to prepare your child academically

    Find out what skills the teacher expects your child to know and weave these skills into everyday activities

    Read with your child and connect what you read with real life situations.  For example if you are reading a story about a vacation, relate it to your last trip to DisneyWorld.
     In addition, read your child's favorite book for the 100th time! As you read, pause and ask your child about what is going on in the book.

    Letter Recognition
    Play the trace a letter game:  Have your child use a finger to trace a letter while saying the letter’s name.  Tell him/her the sound of that letter and give a word example.  You can trace letters on paper, in sand or even a plate of sugar.  Once they get to know their letter try and do it on their back to see if they can figure it out.  I did this with my children and we actually got to the point where we would spell out words on each others backs.  It makes for great fun while they are learning their letters and how to spell words.
    Continually, talk about letters and sounds to help your child learn the names of the letters and the sounds that the letters make. Turn it into a game! "I'm thinking of a letter and it makes the sound mmmmmm."  Pick a letter of the day and see how many thing you can find that begin with that letter.


    Play games that involve counting while you do your everyday errands and chores.

  • Practice self-help skills

    Teachers don't have much time to help each individual child, so make sure your child can zip, button, tie shoes, and tell which shoe goes on which foot. Make sure he/she is independent in using the toilet and washing hands.

  • Review bus safety

    Make sure you child understands the importance of staying far away from the bus.  Never run toward the bus.

    Keep all papers, snacks and other belongings in their backpack in order to eliminate them dropping something and then attempting to retrieve it around the bus.

    Be sure you child is familiar with your neighborhood so that they can find your house if the bus approaches from a different direction.

    Make sure they realize they ONLY get off at their own stop.  A bus driver can make a mistake – it is easy to confuse names and faces at the beginning of the year.

    If you need your child to get off at another bus stop make sure you give the bus driver a note.

    Teach your child his or her name and address so if they need to repeat it to another adult they are capable of doing so. 

    Arrange a tour of the school bus. Walk through the process of getting on the bus. Bus drivers can help explain this and offer safety tips.

    Walk to and from your bus so that your child can see where he/she will be getting on and off the bus.

  • Visit the school

    Let the child see the inside of the school and visit their classroom so that they feel comfortable being there.  Show them where the bathrooms, gym, and library are located.

  • Involve your child

    Have your child  shop and pick out supplies that they will need for school

    Let him/her organize the new backpack with their supplies. 

    Be sure to label everything that they will take with them to school: hats, gloves, coats, supplies, backpack, and  lunch box.

  • Establish a routine

    At night have your child to pick an outfit for the next school day, and pack their book bag. This will help eliminate confusion in the morning.  Prepare your child for a more structured day
    , so set a schedule and keep to it.  It is important for you to include mealtime, play time, homework time and reading time in the schedule.

  • Get Involved in your child’s school

    Create a relationship with your child’s teacher and principal to ensure you are up to date with your child’s progress.  In addition learn the names of other important people at school, it will make it easier to discuss your child's day with them if you can use names that they are familiar with.

    Become familiar with school programs and events.  You need to set a good example for your child, if you are positive and encouraging towards school, your child will be too. Teachers appreciate your involvement and assistance in school activities and  kids love to have their parents both in the classroom and on field trips.  You can do as little or as much as time permits.  A great way to get involved, if you have the time, is to become a home room parent.  You will then have the opportunity to plan and participate in the classroom activities such as holiday parties.  It is also beneficial for you to get involved in school activities because it will give you the opportunity to meet other parents. 

  • Emergency clothes

    School will most likely ask you to provide them with a change of clothing, in case of an accident. This is for spills as well as bathroom accidents.

The school will normally have an “open house” which will allow you and your child to meet the teacher and see the classroom.  Your child can also meet some of the other children.  This can sometimes be difficult for your child.  My daughter, who has an older brother, was very familiar with our elementary school.  Since I was very involved in school activities and I was a homeroom parent she spent many hours with me at the school prior to kindergarten.  She knew the teachers, school and classrooms yet when it came to “open house” she cried.  I was totally amazed that she would be intimidated in any way.  So it happens and you just have to remind the child that he/she will only be gone a short while and that you will be waiting for him to return.  It helps if you make them understand that they are going to meet new friends, play and learn some cool things and then return home.