What do they say? “The days are long, but the years are short?” (See just how short here.) I wrote this post a while back and now that my girls are entering the 5th Grade, I realize how far we’ve come. Wow! For those of you just embarking on all that is Elementary School… Here are a few tips to help your little one (and YOU, cause who are we kidding…. this is a big one!) have a great first day of Pre-K or K!
Helping your Child Prepare for the 1st Day of K! (or TK)
When my girls were little, we both wondered what Kindergarten will be like. Before their first day, I sent out an email to some veteran parents to give their suggestions on helping our girls make the big transition. Based on their ideas and my experience, here are five things you can do to help make their First Day a great one:
1. Ask Questions
2. Play School
Kids don’t just play pretend because it’s fun, they also do it to practice new skills. Ham it up with your kids and help them overcome their fears at the same time. Focus on practicing some specific skills that will be useful on the first day: raising your hand to ask to go to the bathroom and making a friend are a few to try. You can even take turns being the teacher! Kids will love the opportunity to role play and being the teacher is also a silly and fun way to give them confidence on their first day.
3. Share Positive Experiences
Kids love to hear that adults have struggled with similar fears and challenges. Talk about times you were afraid or lonely and what you did to overcome your fear. Better yet, talk about some really fun things you remember about Kindergarten or grade school. Did you have a best friend? A favorite teacher? An art project or activity you did that was really fun? Books are another great way to learn through the experience of others. Check out my favorite book list here.
I got two great ideas for easing first week jitters from a friend of mine (thanks Marivel!) You can’t bring a teddy or blankie to school, but you can pack a picture of the family in their backpack. You’ve probably heard of packing a note in your child’s lunch. You can also use a sharpie to write your note (or silly picture) directly on their banana. Or check out this post with some great Lunch Box Love Notes
Read About It – I’ve mentioned before, reading is a great way to talk about feelings and ideas. By reading about how others deal with fears and challenges you can talk with your child about what they might try. Click here to see my recommended book list.
5. Go on a Field Trip… To School!
The week before school starts, schools are gearing up for the first day as well. Teachers are meeting with administrators to plan instruction and working to set up their classrooms. This is a great time to make a visit to the school when there is not a lot of hubub. Don’t expect to talk with your child’s teacher as they may be busy in meetings or setting up. If you would like to look inside the school, make sure to stop by the main office to say, “Hi!” to the main office assistant (or principal if she is there). She may be OK with you and your child looking around a bit.
Here are some other posts to help your child’s first day be a great one!
- Making a Morning Schedule – This week is a great week to work out the kinks in your morning schedule before the “Big Day!”
- Books that Ease the Transition – These are my favorite books to read this week!
- More Lunch Note Ideas for Your Kids – I can’t tell you how much it helps to have a something special to look forward to waiting in your lunch.
- K-Readiness: How Do I Know If My Child Is Ready? – “Academic” skills like being able to write your name or know your alphabet are important, but not the MOST important. Read more about how teachers define kindergarten readiness on the first day of school.