Preparing Your Child For Kindergarten
Make sure your children have had some supervised time away from you before they enter school. This may be a day care or preschool experience or with friends or relatives. Letting your children occasionally stay overnight away from home develops more independence among young children.
Talk to your child about going to school. Tell them about positive experiences you remember from your first days of school. Talk to them about what they'll learn in school.
Take your child to school. Let him visit and play in the yard while you are there. Let him get acquainted with the other children, the staff, the toys, and the layout of the building.
If possible, tell him the principal's name, the names of his teachers and introduce him to those people. Assure him that it is natural to be frightened. Everyone is here to be his friend.
Never use school as a threat, such as, "You can't go to school today because you are bad," or "You have to go to school today to learn how to mind." Parents and schools should be perceived as people and places that show unconditional love.
Take your children to school open houses if these are available. Let them meet the teachers and have time to explore the classrooms.
If the teacher sends a nice letter welcoming children to the classroom, share this letter with your children. They'll probably want it read over and over.
Set aside a day to gather the supplies they will need for school. If you need to purchase materials, empower the child to decide what he wants and needs.
Talk with him about what the first day will probably be like. Tell him about fun with other children, with books and puzzles, with the big blocks, with the computers, with the science activities, on the playground and snack or lunch breaks.Read to your child on a regular basis and let your child "read" to you. Explain that in school the teachers will read to them and that there will be so many good books at school for them to read.Model the importance of reading by letting your child see you read everyday. Even if is just the daily newspaper, create the impression that it is something you MUST DO!
Make your child aware that every child goes to school and that schools are wonderful places to learn. It is your child's job to be a student, just like it is your job to go to work. Talk to your child about friends who will also be at school.
Have your child try to predict what will happen on the first day. For example, "Tomorrow I'll be taking to you to school so that you can be in Mrs. Smith's class. It will be so much fun. What do you think she will say as you walk in the door?"
If you see a few tears when you are leaving the classroom, don't worry. The tears disappear once Mom or Dad leave. A few tears may return if you meet your children after school, but be assured, that most tears disappear almost the minute parents are out of sight.
If your child clings to you and cries at the top of his or her lungs about your leaving, the best thing to do is to leave quickly. The longer you stay, the more difficult the situation will be. Those who cling and cry loudly calm down within a few minutes and enjoy school. Some of these children will continue this behavior for several days or even weeks. It's hard on the parents and is embarrassing for many. Be assured that if your child continues to be upset after you leave and the teacher or aide cannot calm him down, someone from the school will call and let you know.
School personnel will identify children who continue to display anxiety about coming to school and who may need extra help in dealing with those anxieties.
The vast majority of children experience no difficulties with coming to school. They are looking forward to being part of a school population and the new adventures and experiences this milestone brings. They will enjoy reading and learning and will express that joy.
Keep in close touch with your child's teachers. Schooling is an on-going partnership between teachers and parents.