How to Help Your Child Prepare for Kindergarten
To ensure your child has a memorable kindergarten experience full of fun and education, here are some actionable pointers to take in the weeks and days following up to your child’s move into kindergarten.
Go on a Trip for Supplies
In preparation for the first day, build some excitement by going on a trip to get supplies. You may have been provided a list of things your child will need, so take this and head to your local shopping centre to get prepared. Let your child get involved in the colours and styles of pencils and stationery they want. This will help give them a sense of ownership and build anticipation for their big day at kindergarten.
Ensure a Bedtime Routine
Concentration, imagination, and creativity are characteristics your child cannot be without during their time at kindergarten. If they start the day feeling lethargic or tired, their ability to utilise those three skills is diminished. To ensure they are at peak performance, establishing a bedtime routine is key.
Children can be notoriously difficult to get to sleep, yet the importance of a bedtime routine can’t be understated. By telling your child a story before bed, you’ll help them to relax and make it easier to fall asleep. As a secondary benefit, story time can also help improve their reading – an important skill to develop during childhood. It also gives you the chance to bond with your child in a relaxed, creative environment.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
As important as a bedtime routine is a consistent morning routine. One aspect that can’t be sacrificed is breakfast. Those characteristics – concentration, imagination and creativity – can’t be used to their full effect without it. The energy provided by food in the morning keeps our brains sharp in those waking hours. Sit down as a family and enjoy a morning breakfast, helping everyone start off the day right.
Plan Your First Visit
Discovering your child’s new school for the first time can be made easier if you are around when they first become familiar with these new surroundings. For that reason, we’d recommend you organise and attend a kindergarten visit before your child’s first day. Make sure you include the playground, classroom, and any other areas where your child will be spending a lot of time. Your company will help your child feel more comfortable in their new surroundings. Take this opportunity to meet your child’s teacher and, if possible, the head of the school.
Many kindergartens will offer this experience in the form of an orientation day. If this isn’t possible, be sure to make your own arrangements.
Make Goodbyes Quick
On the first day of kindergarten, there are likely to be some tears. As a parent, it’s important to be strong and allow your child to integrate into their new environment. Once you’ve dropped your child off at kindergarten and it’s time for class, make your goodbye as swiftly as you can. Even if your child is crying, leaving can help a child’s focus shift onto their first activity.
Teachers have seen this all before. They will know how to act and ensure your child is happy and safe throughout the day. Put your trust in them and let your child enjoy their kindergarten experience.
Connect with Your Child’s Teacher
Starting kindergarten can be a tough time for parents and children. Handing over your child for a significant portion of the week and trusting those in charge with their development may take some getting used to. It is likely that it will also take your child some time to get used to a new teacher.
Make sure you’re present for the first meeting between your child and their new teacher. Get to know each other, making sure you take note of the teacher’s methods and how they differ from any previous teachers. Once a bond is established, check in regularly for details on how your child is getting along – both socially and academically. You’ll likely pick up valuable information you can use in your efforts to aid your child’s development.
A Kindergarten Readiness Checklist
Throughout their time at kindergarten, your child is going to have to call upon a number of skills. From social and language skills that help them engage with fellow students, to academic skills that help them succeed educationally, kindergarten exists to help children develop these competencies.