Is your little one gearing up for their biggest milestone yet? The first day of school is approaching quickly and we wanted to share our favorite tips that we used to prepare our own children for their very first day of school.
Get Kindergarten ready! Help your child be more independent at home by giving them tasks they can accomplish. After meals, have your child take their dishes to the sink or throw away their trash. Establish a routine of putting their shoes away, hanging up their coats or bags, and using the bathroom, and washing their hands unassisted. Most importantly, make sure they feel comfortable asking for help when necessary!
Lean into Social-emotional Learning (SEL)
Social-emotional learning is the process of developing self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are important for school, work, and overall success in life. There are ways as parents we can foster emotional intelligence in our children, by teaching coping skills and participating in activities that help develop strong self-esteem. Let kids help and give. Plan and play! Set up a park play date with another family who will be going to Kindergarten as well. Show warmth and model kindness. Be a good listener to your child. Read books that focus on SEL. Start each day with an emotional body check-in. By nurturing a culture of kindness, children are more likely to embrace change and be successful in their relationships.
Give your child simple jobs that they can own! Consider letting them feed the dog, putting away the clean silverware from the dishwasher, or matching socks from each load of laundry. Letting your soon-to-be Kindergartner gain confidence in their abilities by completing these tasks will not only help prepare them for school, but for many milestones in their life.
Start waking your child at the same time every day that is close to the time they will need to wake up for school. Have them brush their teeth, get dressed, and brush their hair each morning before they run down the hall to greet you to get them into the habit of being ready to go before they face the day! This will help those chaotic mornings of trying to get everyone ready for school!
Reading, Reading, Reading
There is no better way to create readers out of your children than by reading aloud to them. Read a fun story on your Kindle, or the magazine you’re reading, or head to your local library and pick up the latest picture books. Better yet, pick out age-appropriate chapter books that you can incorporate into a daily routine of reading a chapter aloud each night! Reading at least 20 minutes per day helps children with fluency and vocabulary building.
Acknowledge Their Feelings
This big milestone may be the first time your child has ever been away from home for extended amounts of time and they may be feeling nervous, anxious, or scared. Alternatively, they may be absolutely thrilled about this upcoming change and can’t wait to meet new friends! Be sure to listen to their needs and fears, hopes and dreams, and sit with them in the moment.
Feel Your Own Feels
Sending your young one off to Kindergarten may bring up big emotions in you that you may not have been prepared for! Be sure to share your feelings with your partner or friends who are also going through the same thing or have experienced first-day-of-school send-offs with their own children. Find your community in this new phase of parenthood and embrace the change. Bring the tissues for that sweet goodbye for now!
We hope these tips give you a great start to preparing your children for Kindergarten!