As summer is wrapping up for us, school is on my mind as I am sure it is with most parents. Here are 4 tips to help prep your child for their first day of preschool or kindergarten. Ready or not, here they go!
Getting to know other children is healthy for your child. Invite friends over for playdates and go to other friends’ houses, too. This is a great way for your child to learn how to get along with others because not everyone plays the same. If you are new to your area or not comfortable going to other people’s homes yet, try a park or visiting a story time at your local library. Both are free events and great places to meet other parents/children your child’s age.
Eventually, the day will come when you have to leave your child at the door of his/her kindergarten class. Do NOT let that be your first time apart! To avoid a sad scene at your first school drop off, leave them every now and then before that day comes. There are many different ways you can start practicing your separation. You can sign them up for preschool before kindergarten starts, leave them at a friend’s house for a playdate on their own or leave them with a babysitter for a night out with your spouse, just to name a few. You will get a little time to yourself to get something done on your own and they will be able to learn how to get along with others while you are not in the room and know that you are going to come back for them.
If your child is going to be eating lunch at school, it is a great idea to practice eating lunch. Find out how long they will have to eat and give them a test run at least once before school starts so they have a general idea of how it is going to go.
The summer before my son went into kindergarten I realized that he had never had a sack lunch and did not know how open juice boxes or milk containers. And I will admit, I was deathly afraid he would see all the kids at lunch and think it would be fun to start a food fight! We started practicing a week before school so I could at least show him the basics and walk him through what would be expected of him (i.e. cleaning up, what to throw away etc.). The first day, I helped him do everything just so we did not have him experimenting. Every day I did less until he was doing it all on his own.
Let Them Get Excited
As sad as you may be about your kiddo going off to school, do NOT take their excitement away from them. Your child should be excited about going to school. So, if you have to hide your sadness, do it! After my daughter’s first few days at school, she came home with this note below and giggled with excitement all weekend long for me to “leave her at the door with a hug and a kiss.”
Your child not having a meltdown at the door when you say goodbye is a good thing. It does not mean they will not miss you, but instead it means that they are ready and prepared. Give yourself a well deserved pat on the back because you just did something awesome!