One of the biggest transitions in the life of a young family is the first year of school for their children. Beginning Kindergarten is an exciting time as a new phase of childhood begins, but understandably this transition can also be stressful for both parents and the child entering a real classroom for the first time. Understandably, fear of the unknown may trigger a range of negative thoughts in the student and parents’ minds. Thankfully, there are a few things North Carolina families can do to prepare and set their minds at ease so the first day of school is a celebration and full of excitement more than worry:
- Acclimate your child to the presence of peers: Some children are overwhelmed when entering a room with many other children. Being able to play, share, and otherwise interact with peers before entering kindergarten will go a long way to easing this transition. Many children will find that they learn these coping mechanisms and social cues effortlessly during their years at a preschool or daycare prior to kindergarten.
- Introduce other adult authority figures: If a child has only ever had their parents as authority figures, it can be distressing to suddenly receive orders and directions from another adult. Leaving your child with a trusted adult friend, family member, or babysitter beforehand can help prepare them for the more structured format of a kindergarten classroom.
- Check their health: For the sake of your child and the other children in his/her class, it is wise to have them visit their general practitioner before starting school so you know they are up to date and as healthy as possible. On top of being a great idea for peace of mind, many schools will require it and ensures that any health issues that arise (like asthma) can be pre-emptively taken care of with an inhaler or epi-pen at the school nurse’s office.
- Teach them friendly competition: Being in school involves a lot of games and playtime with others. Some of these games, especially sports, involve winners and losers. Working with your child to show them how to be both a gracious winner and loser prior to starting school can help their transition.
- Let them be independent: It’s tempting to take care of many little things for your child, but allowing them to do what they are able to do for themselves helps them build confidence. When they are in school, they will have to make independent decisions, express opinions, and do things like tying their own shoes. Having the practice and confidence-building experiences in a safe space like at home can be helpful when your child finds themselves in a new environment where they need to make decisions.
- Introduce them to the basics: While your little scholar will not be expected to know everything before his first day, it does help for them to understand the concept of colors, letters, numbers, and other basics. Again, don’t worry about having them master these, their teachers will take care of that over the coming years.
- Ask your child how they’re feeling: When in doubt, ask your child what worries him most. It may be the case that the nerves are mostly on your end, and they are just excited to be a “big kid” in school. Or, they may have a specific concern you haven’t considered. Ask them pointed questions and you may be surprised what you hear.
- If possible, relax: Children often get their cues on how to react from the adults in their lives. If you approach the day with smiles, joy, preparation and calm, from your words to your body language, chances are your child will be able to do the same. Millions of other students across the country will be going to school for the first time and while it is a big hurdle, it is one along with a well-worn track.
For quality pre-school and daycare, consider Kids Educational Centers
One great way for children to be prepared for kindergarten is for them to attend pre-school and daycare. In Raleigh, Wake Forest, Knightdale, Wendell, and Hubert, Kids Educational Centers operate a number of fantastic and fun centers of learning. Reach out to us at (877) 532-5439 for more information or to schedule a visit.