Preparing for kindergarten: 5 tips to start the school year right

September 5th, 2013 | Posted by Kerry Lyons in Tips and Quips

The Kindergarten Basics

“For those of you who are sending your child to kindergarten for the first time, we understand the trepidation.  For those of you who are going through this for the second, or possibly the last time, congratulations on getting another one out of the house!”  So began kindergarten orientation on a muggy night in May in a room filled with (mostly) nervous parents of four and five year olds about to leave Pre-K for the big K.

This September is the last time I will send a little one off to kindergarten… times three! Our triplets (my “babies”) are leaving the roost and, like most Moms, the notion of sending them off to school leaves me with mixed emotions.  If you feel the mix of anxiety and excitement, these tips should help to ease the transition… for everyone involved!

  1. Prepare them. Encourage them to do things for themselves. Though you may not think so, your aspiring kindergartener is capable of zipping and unzipping, snapping and unsnapping, getting dressed and undressed, carrying a backpack and even packing their own snack.  Though your instinct may be to coddle your “baby”, don’t. Giving them a bit of independence is the best way to prep for the school year.
  2. Prepare yourself. Transitions are tough and I’m not one who naturally embraces change but, sending your cutie to kindergarten is change for good.  Don’t make it a bigger deal than it is.  Preschool is over and it’s time to take the next step  - a step that your child is very likely ready for, even if you’re not.
  3. Visit.  Most grammar schools have awesome playgrounds; take your tot there for an afternoon of exploring and playing  — after all, that’s a big part of what kindergarten is all about.  Getting familiar with the school and surroundings will make that first day a lot easier.  For both of you!
  4. Read to them. Read with them. Read. Read. Read.  Point to the words.  Ask questions.  Encourage conversation.  And then, read some more!
  5. Stock up now.  You’ll probably get a list of items to fill that little backpack on the first day.  It will likely contain some combination of crayons, glue sticks, tissues, wipes, and even a nap mat.  Get these things now, while sales are in full swing, shelves are stocked and the last bit of summer lingers before you.

As that evening back in May came to a close, we were advised to “embrace the moments this summer; the school year may be bumpy at first but it’s going to be a fabulous journey.”  And, as one who has been down this road before, I can assure you it is.

NOTE: This post originally appeared on Moonfrye.

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