Kindergarten is often a child’s first experience with school, so the first day can be very nerve-racking for everyone. But even if your child has had some preschool prior to Kindergarten, it can still be a difficult transition. In some cases it could be your child’s first time riding on a school bus or even just going to school all day and not getting the chance to take a nap.
There’s more focus on academics in Kindergarten and children will begin learning how to read. They are still very young and school is still very new, so it’s good to help your child get prepared for the first day of Kindergarten in advance to help them be less anxious about being away from you and in a new school with new people and a new teacher.
How to Prepare Your Child for the First Day of Kindergarten
Discuss what school will be like well before your child starts. Just casually bring it up and explain how he’ll go without you, but he’ll come home for lunch or in time for dinner. You can also read some books about the first day of school or Kindergarten. There are many good children’s books which help explain what will happen. A great book to try is Look Out, Kindergarten, Here I Come by Nancy Carlson. Time for School, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff (the author of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie!) is another great book to read with your child.
Attend the orientation if at all possible. Most schools have an introduction to Kindergarten for parents and children. This is so the children can see the classroom and meet the teacher and other students in their class. Also, they will often have an introduction for students to the bus with a short ride around the block with the kids. Parents will get to learn of what the expectations are and what the day will be like for their child. As you can see, it’s an important time for you and your child to help prepare for Kindergarten that you don’t want to miss.
On the first day of school be prepared for there to be tears, but don’t drag out the goodbyes. If you drop your child off at school, take a minute to help him get situated. But when it’s time to go, a quick hug and kiss and reminder that you’ll be back to get him soon will be fine. Even if he begins to cry, you will just have to walk away. The teacher expects it and she will help with the transition. Most likely, shortly after you have left he will have forgotten why he was crying and will be just fine once he gets into the classroom and joins in with what they are doing.
If you are putting your child on the bus, again make it a quick goodbye. Remind him that you’ll be waiting right there for him when he gets home, and put him on the bus and go.
Give him a surprise in his lunch or snack. Write up a little note telling him that you love him. His teacher can read the note to him since he likely can’t read yet, but he’ll really enjoy getting a special note from mom and/or dad. And he’ll know that you’re thinking of him while he’s at school.
You might not completely avoid tears on the first day of school, but you will make that transition easier if you do these things for your child’s first day of kindergarten. Remember, this is a fun and exciting time and a positive attitude will help set the tone for the entire school year.