The first day of kindergarten is quickly approaching. Some children find this to be a very exciting time. Others may be hesitant about it and begin to ask questions. There is much a family can do to get a child ready for the transition, including helping children learn habits that will make them more comfortable and successful in a classroom setting.
“Start talking to your child about the change that is coming when they start school,” said Chelsea Adams, assistant principal at Metcalf School in Morenci and former kindergarten teacher. “Be positive and give your child the opportunity to ask questions or express fears.”
First Things First recommends that you take advantage of everyday opportunities that exist at home to help children learn new habits or routines. These include:
• Teach your children how to use the toilet by themselves, to wash their hands after going to the bathroom and before eating, to blow their own nose and to sneeze into their elbow.
• Talk to your child and set an example for your child whenever possible about the importance of sharing.
• Ask your children to help you clean up at home, so they will learn to put things back where they belong when asked.
• Help your children get used to routines at school by encouraging them to eat at regular times at the table using silverware.
• Talk with your child about what to expect during a typical school day. This includes lunches, snacks, and bathroom breaks.
• Reassure your children about what kinds of activities will happen at school and after the day is over. If they are going to after-school child care, talk about the activities and schedule during this time.
• Write down your child’s questions about kindergarten as they come up. Call the school to get the answers and share them with your child.
“The more you speak with your child about the details, the less anxiety he or she is likely to experience on that first day,” Adams said. “And, don’t stop there. Continue to talk with your child throughout the year about the academic and social aspects of school each day. Specific questions will provide insight about how your child learns and how he or she interacts at school.”
Setting routines at home and tending to your child’s questions and concerns will reduce first-day anxiety and prepare your child for kindergarten success.
To learn more about First Things First, visit ReadyAZKids.com.