Hello Mom of 2013-2014 Kindergarteners!
It’s an exciting time as families prepare to bring their children to kindergarten, whether it’s your first time or if you’ve experienced this multiple times. Celebrate whenever you can and pass on the excitement for school. You might celebrate with a special family song and dance, new crayons or a favorite meal.
There may be some stress (for children and parents) involved with the new experience of going to kindergarten. Stress can be reduced by practicing new activities or establishing routines before the first day of school. You may want to practice having your child walk with an older family member or buddy to the bus stop or to school. You may even want to spend some time playing on the school play equipment. A week or two before school starts is a good time to establish their bedtime and morning routines that will allow them to arrive at school rested and prepared for the day. If you have a school-night routine or a morning routine, you don’t have to “renegotiate” expectations every day and everyone knows what to expect. You probably already know if your child functions better with nine, ten or eleven hours of sleep a night, so plan the family’s activities accordingly.
Our communities have many great activities available for children and families. Be careful that your family doesn’t become so overbooked with great activities that family members are stressed.
One way to encourage self-sufficiency for your child is to make a bedtime and/or morning task picture chart displaying three or four family expectations that need to be done at that time. The child may have more of an investment in this process if they get to draw the pictures, e. g., lay out tomorrow’s clothes, put on pajamas, brush teeth, and pick a book to read.
Read! Read! Read! Read traffic signs, cereal boxes, and books with or without words. Your local librarians can help you find age appropriate books that will help prepare your child for kindergarten. One of my favorites is “The Kissing Hand,” by Audrey Penn. This book teaches moms and their children how to stay close even when they are separated. Which brings up the question of what plan do you have for yourself while your child goes off to school?
Schools provide many opportunities to network with school staff and other parents. You can join PTO or help out with classroom activities. Be sure to stay updated by the classroom teacher’s regular letters and/or school on-line information. Check in with you school principal, Family Resource Center staff, nurse or counselor if you have special concerns about your child. Staff hope you ask your questions rather than worry.
Quiz question – “Mommy” and “Daddy,” do your children know your first and last names? It can be helpful.
Finally, try to attend your school’s ice cream social – check your school calendar for dates and times. That’s when you usually find out your child’s teacher and can visit the classroom. Have a great school year!
**Special thanks to our guest blogger, Becky Ertle, for sharing these tips with us! Becky is the School Counselor at Garner Elementary. She has 19 years of school counseling experience, as well as several years of experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. School counselors are a fantastic resource for both you and your child…make sure to keep them in mind if you have questions or need some help during the transition back to school or at any time during the school year!
Image courtesy of Microsoft Images.