1. Can They Take Care of Themselves and Their Clothes?
If your child goes to the bathroom at school, can they button their pants up again? When it is time for recess, can they zip their jacket? What if your their shoes come untied – can they tie them again without help? Of course, teachers help your children with these kinds of things early in the year, but there are many kids in a classroom – wouldn’t it be wonderful if your child felt confident about doing these things solo? And the teacher would surely love the help, too!
2. Encourage Being Responsible for Their Own Things
When you go somewhere with your kids, do you always pack everything up and then carry it yourself? It might be helpful for your soon-to-be kindergartener if you started passing off some of those duties. Maybe if you head to the pool this summer, you can have your child gather up a towel and goggles, and then have them be responsible for those things. If your child is still in preschool or goes to daycare, they can start carrying their own backpack (and lunchbox) each day without any help. You could even encourage them to pack their bag themselves.
Becoming more responsible in this way can really help your child transition more easily into kindergarten. Each child will be responsible for packing up their bag at the end of the day, and each child will be expected to carry their own things.
With lunchboxes, drink bottles, jackets, home readers, finished work, newsletters, library books etc It is especially important that their bag is big enough for them to easily pack in all their items.
3. Lunchtime: Can They Open Everything?
You may pack your child’s lunch with the utmost love and care, but can they even open everything when it comes time to eat it?
Have your child begin trying to open everything themselves. Show them how to open their bag of chips, squishy yoghurt and puree fruit tubes. Teach them how to pry the lid off her plastic container holding her fruit, and made sure they can open their drink bottle and close it again properly so it didn’t leak all over everything. (If you send a juice box, make sure your child can open the plastic around the straw and then insert it.)
We often take these small skills for granted, but they can really instill so much confidence in a child.
4. Limit After-School Activities Early in the School Year
It’s going to take everything in your child’s power to be “on” all day at school. Odds are, you will have a very tired, emotional child at the end of the day – certainly by Friday. Every Friday night for the first few months, new kindergarteners were always a complete disaster. So just go ahead and expect that, and be pleasantly surprised if your child is the exception! Your child will be trying so hard to keep things together at school, so when he/she gets home to you (their “safety”), don’t be surprised if the wheels fall right off!
Your child will be pouring everything into adjusting to this new routine.
5. Talk About It… But Not Too Much!
Encourage excitement about kindergarten – telling them about all the interesting things they’d be doing! But each child is different. Talks about these exciting things might actually make them more and more nervous. It’s good to talk about what’s to come so your child is better prepared, but try to read your child’s reactions. Maybe you’ll need to reassure your child that everything is going to be okay and remind them that other kids will have questions too.
6. Label EVERYTHING!
This tip is more for you than for your child. Things will definitely get lost, so LABEL EVERYTHING CLEARLY to increase the chances of things coming back to you! It can be so frustrating to see a brand new jacket is lost just weeks after school starts.
So take a few moments and put a label on everything you can think of before school starts. It may rub off eventually and you’ll have to do it again, but it’s better than losing brand new clothes!