Today we have a very special treat. Cherrie from NuBaby is sharing 5 great tips for preparing your child for kindergarten. Cherrie is the Founder and CBO (Chief Baby Officer) of NuBaby. She is a Registered Early Childhood Educator who recently led the workshop that our little family attended about ‘preparing your child for junior kindergarten’. As many of you know, my three year old starts kindergarten in September. She’s ecstatic about going to school, however we’ve been apprehensive about this big transition for our little girl. At the workshop we attended, Cherrie laid all of our fears to rest and gave us some great tools to start working on with Brie. She is very knowledgable and you will learn a lot from her top five tips for preparing your child for kindergarten.
With September just a few weeks away, the thought of your baby growing up and going to school may give you your first taste of empty nester syndrome. OK, so it is not as bad, but there are definitely a range of emotions from excitement to sadness, and everything in between.
While you can’t help but feel a little anxious, knowing that you have helped your little one prepare for the big day will help to minimize the fear, for both you and her. Whether it is your child’s first time away from you or she’s making the transition from childcare to school, here are some things you can do to help make the move easier.
1. Talk about it. Not knowing what to expect is very scary, so talk about what going to school will be like. Share stories of your experiences, or include older siblings and cousins in the discussion. Tell your child about all the exciting things and activities he will experience in kindergarten, and offer lots of opportunities for him to share his feelings. Provide comfort and reassurance to help him feel more confident, and remind him of all the things that will still be the same even though there will be a new routine.
2. Go for a visit. Children are most comfortable in a familiar environment. Try to visit the classroom with your child before school starts. Most schools have an orientation day, when you and your child can meet the teacher, ask questions, and find out what the daily schedule will be like. It is also a great time to meet other children who will be in the same class, as well as connect with other parents. If not, take your child to the school and walk around the school grounds together. Playing at the school playground will also help her become familiar with the environment.
3. Make some friends. Walking into a classroom with all brand new faces is very intimidating. Find other children in the neighborhood also attending the same school, preferably the same class and schedule some play dates in advance so there is at least one familiar face. If you will be walking your child to school, find others in the neighborhood that are walking as well and walk to school together to give your child a sense of community.
4. Get ready together. In the weeks before school starts, establish a school day routine and practice getting ready for school together. Have her help you prepare snacks and lunch and practice packing her backpack together.
5. Practice important skills. In school, your child will be expected to be able to communicate, to demonstrate basic knowledge, to socialize with others, and to show independence. Help her practice these skills during every day activities.
o Encourage communication by playing with spoken and written words, telling stories, singing songs and reciting rhymes.
o Encourage literacy and basic math skills through reading books together and asking open-ended questions. Build an understanding of math concepts like counting, sorting, patterning and measuring during play.
o Create opportunities for your child to socialize and interact with others. Engaging in dramatic play experiences with peers allows children to talk, assign roles, and create and follow rules. This helps to develop important social and thinking skills as they learn to cooperate, take turns, and get along with others.
o Encourage your child to be independent by building confidence and self-control. Help your child develop strategies for controlling his emotions and behaviors and provide opportunities for your child to develop self-help skills. Not only will she feel pride in her ability to do things for herself, but she will also develop the confidence to try when faced with new challenges in kindergarten.