Is your child starting Kindergarten this year? As your child turns another page in their book of life, here are some great tips to help you keep your cool. We crowdsourced The Moms for tips for First-Time Kindergarten Moms and here are the answers:
- Be positive in front of them at all times. If you want to cry, don’t do it in front of them. It makes them think it is a bad thing, not a happy, exciting new adventure.
- Go to bed early enough, have calm mornings, and eat a good breakfast together. Realize they will be exhausted those first few weeks.
- Do not linger in the classroom the first day too long.
- Be excited! Kids feed off your energy. This is an exciting time for them. Be happy and give them wings to fly!
- Plan ahead as much as you can the night before – backpack/lunch packed, get the folder ready, clothes picked out. Later in the year you can be a total mom mess, but try to have a calm first week at home to help them transition into school.
- If they have never been to day care or preschool before, they may get sick… a lot. It’s normal. My oldest was sick and missed somewhere like 20 school days when she started preschool, and she’s fine now!
- Read! Every day. I know, it’s said all the time, but it’s so easy to turn on the tv and cuddle up after a long day. Before you do that, read! You’ll help you child develop the confidence they need to be an independent reader.
- Support your child’s teacher. They are your child’s secondary educator and are working as hard as they can for little pay!
- Make sure your kids can open their lunchbox items and, if buying lunch, understand the process and how to carry their tray. Time is short in the lunchroom and there is often only one adult to help.
- As you’re building up the hype for school, keep it really generic. Don’t get them super excited about a specific thing unless you know it’s actually going to happen in their classroom.
- Talk to them about how important it is to ask questions if they don’t understand something and to be flexible because this is going to be a different experience.
- Help them self-advocate. Make them ask a question. Don’t let them say “I’m thirsty” then hand them a glass of water. You are being their problem solver, rather than having them find their own solutions. Teach them to ask for what they need. “May I please have a glass of water?”
- Make sure they can independently go to the bathroom, wipe properly, and redress in whatever bottoms you send them in, especially if they wear a belt. And be sure they know to close and lock the door. It may be no big deal at home, but they need to close and lock the bathroom door at school.
- Teach them how to properly and independently wash their hands. Pump the soap, wash, turn off the water, and dry.
- Make sure they can put stuff in and out of their backpack and zip/unzip it.
- Work on tying shoes or wear ones that slip on or have Velcro.
- If they have any allergy or health or developmental issues call or email the school NOW. Don’t think you can walk in there on meet the teacher day and drop a bunch of information and that they’ll be ready to appropriately support your child a day later.
- Try to attend the Kindergarten Kickoff Day before school starts, if your school offers it. Go to all of the events offered before school starts if you can!
- Try to meet another student’s mom in class and exchange phone numbers so you have someone to share info/ask questions, since not all info from the teacher makes it home I have found out!
- If they will be riding the bus, be sure to look up that information on your county’s website.
- Talk very intentionally about strategies to deal with emotions. “When you’re feeling scared, let’s try doing deep breaths” or “If you’re feeling sad, what’s something happy that you could think about to cheer you up?”
And above all, we need to love them, encourage them, and help them to a great start of their Kindergarten year!
Thanks to Rachel, Megan, EM, Tanya, Janelle, Rebekah, Katie, and Mandi for the tips!