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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
is important for you
to include mealtime, play time, homework time and reading time in
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.
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
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.