Two of my five kids have successfully finished Kindergarten and my third one is going to be entering kinder in the fall of 2022. I remember the anxiety that plagued me when I was preparing my first child to enter the world of education.
He had never even gone to pre-k. I stayed at home and taught him all he needed to know. This allowed him to be a kid but I was concerned he wouldn’t be able to hang with the kids who already knew how to keep a bubble in their mouths and walk in a perfectly straight line.
I started googling all. of. the. things.
You would be surprised by all of the blog posts, suggestions, and Pinterest pins that are out there. Or maybe you wouldn’t be surprised. It was overwhelming, to say the least.
So I’m going to break it down a little bit. You don’t need to follow every single suggestion out there. Take what works for your family and leave the rest.
1. Take a Deep Breath
It can seem impossible to prepare for Kindergarten but this is just the beginning of their school career. Kindergarten is meant to be fun so take a deep breath. Root yourself in the truth of God being in control and do what you can.
2. Set Your Expectations on a Reasonable Level
Here is the deal. Set your expectations in reality. Mommy wars are real and everyone goes in wanting their kid to be a prodigy or at least the best. But God made your child and the most important thing is for them to be who God made them to be.
At this age, the most important things are teaching kindness, respect, social awareness, and emotional awareness.
Yes, they will learn to read, write, and count higher. They will make progress academically and while those are important we also need to focus on raising kids to have integrity, not just good grades.
3. Give Your Child a Safe Place
What I mean by this is an emotionally safe place. Starting something new such as kindergarten is exhausting. So many things change, they are learning at a rapid pace, they are growing, and they are going to be emotional. Part of preparing for kindergarten is to prepare yourself for the meltdowns that may happen after school. You can also prepare your child.
Practice what to do when they are tired and overwhelmed. It is important to walk through these things before you are in the heat of the moment. A meltdown is not the time to practice what to do.
Some things to practice are:
- Taking a deep breath
- Recognizing how they feel and where they feel it in their body
- Counting backward from 5 or 10
- Talk about feelings in advance
- Asking for what they need (snack, drink, hug, etc)
4. Start Their Kindergarten Routine Early
We all want to savor those last moments of summer but the truth is that it will be better for everyone involved if you transition to the school routine a few weeks prior to school starting up. This will space out the transitions and make those first few weeks exponentially easier.
Decide on a bedtime, waking time, how the morning will go when school starts, and how the afternoon will go. Get in some great practice now.
5. Practice Having Kindergarten Lunch
This is another practice session to help set them up for success. Lunch at kindergarten is a bit different and requires more independence when it comes to opening packages, eating in a short amount of time, and packing up their items when it is time to go.
Their teachers are so happy to help, but if you can help your child learn some of these skills, they will be grateful because this is their lunch also. Here are a few skills to practice at home.
- Opening packages. This could be juice, jello, Lunchables, baggies, etc.
- Practice eating in a 15-minute time frame. Stress that it is okay if they don’t finish everything during this time.
- Practice packing up and talk about what is trash and what should come home.
Kindergarten is a wonderful experience for most kids and parents. It is fun and fosters their growing sense of independence. Even if you do none of these things on this list it will be a great year and you will both do amazing!!!
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