The first day of kindergarten can be a stressful event for both child and parent. Kim Babka, and Early Childhood/O.E.K. Specialist from the Granite School District joined Good Things Utah with tips for making the transition easier.
Make the unknowns known – This is a big step for children and much of the anxiety comes from not knowing what to expect. Start by having conversations about what happens at school. This could include things like meet new friends, playground activities, and things they will learn. Before the first day take a trip to the school to familiarize your child with the environment. For extra comfort try to set up a meeting with the teacher or see the classroom. Familiarize and learn names of classmates so that day you can refer to them like, “Look! I see Devon and his mommy! I bet he is excited too!”
Kim also recommends reading stories about the first day of school. Here are some of her “favorites:”
- The Kissing Hand; Penn, Audrey
- The Ticky Tacky Doll; Stevenson, Harvey
- On the First Day of Kindergarten; Tish, Rabe
- First Day Jitters; Julie Danneberg
- Wemberly Worried; Henkes, Kevin
- Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten; Slate, Joseph
Children function well in a caring yet structured home. Start a bedtime routine if you don’t have one in place. This can include things like setting out clothing, reading a story, brushing teeth and talk about what might happen the next day).
In addition, start a morning routine but remember to allow the child to make choices within the structured routine. Children this age are trying to excerpt independence, therefore, we want them to make choices throughout their day.
When the first day finally comes:
- Connect home to school
- Placing a memento in your child’s backpack.
- Set something on their bed they will return to.
- Say goodbye…don’t sneak out.
- Leave with ease and possibly a create a special way to say goodbye.
- Once you say goodbye…leave…don’t linger. (Have faith in the teacher J)
Kim says that developmentally, there are so many different things happening in a 5-yr. old body and brain. (fears, need for independence, egocentrism, etc.) Educate yourself as a parent to understand how you can support your child at home and reinforce what they are learning at school.
Learn more about kindergarten, ages, and stages here.