Tips for your soon to be Kindergartener (and bigger kids too)!
The transition into Kindergarten is not only a big change in your child’s life but also your family’s life as well – check out some tips from our 4 Seasons Early Years Team to help this change go smoothly!
1. Routine, routine, routine – Nothing will make your child’s transition into Kindergarten easier than having a solid routine set up well before their first day of school. Having the children in a routine of waking up and getting dressed at the same time every day whether there is school or not will make school mornings run more smoothly. Without it being a challenge to wake up your child and get them dressed, being on time for school will be easy! You can also incorporate chores into your routine such as having your child empty their lunch kit after school and refilling it with the non-perishable items. Then, instead of you having to rush to put together a lunch before school, you will just need to pop in the refrigerated items!
2. Make routines fun – If your child is not on a routine, it may be difficult to transition them onto a routine so try making it as fun as possible! Making a picture schedule that the children can refer to helps them know exactly what’s coming next which can alleviate anxiety and anger around having to transition to the next part of the routine. To make a picturized routine, you can print photos found on the internet or you could even take photos of your child doing each activity on the routine and use them for the schedule. If you don’t have a printer, you can always draw pictures of the routine activities and have your child color them and glue them in the correct order to create a schedule. Implementing an incentive can help a child transition though a routine as well (especially if there are chores incorporated into the routine). An incentive could be as simple as handing out a sparkly sticker after your child puts on their shoes and jacket to go to school or 15 minutes of extra play time at the playground after school if they arrive on time for school each morning.
3. Teach independence – If your child has a high level of independence, they will be much more confident at school when they can see that they are on par with what their classmates can accomplish. If your child is confident in what they can accomplish independently, it can significantly decrease their anxiety which can ultimately make separating from your child easier each morning. Making sure your child can complete tasks such as putting on their shoes and jacket, eating their lunch with cutlery, and going to the bathroom without adult assistance will make your child more confident!
4. Implement an early bedtime – Once in kindergarten, your child will most likely be quite exhausted after their day with a new environment to get used to, more mental and sensory stimulation, potentially longer days, and probably more physical activity than they are used to. The best way to help your child be less tired is to implement an earlier bedtime – especially for the first few months as they are adjusting to the changes. An earlier bedtime will help your child be less tired and happier in the evenings!
5. Pack a healthy lunch (and eat a healthy breakfast) – A hungry child or a child who has eaten an unhealthy lunch will have a more difficult time being present and engaging in school activities. Lack of healthy food could even cause negative behaviors as children often act out when they aren’t feeling well. Having a lunch full of vegetables, fruit, and protein will help your child have energy for the day and keep their body full of the nutrients it requires. Keep the candy gummies, puddings, chocolate granola bars, and sugary drinks for special occasions and out of lunch kits. The same rule goes for breakfast – keep the sugary cereals for a special treat too! If you’re looking for healthy lunch and breakfast ideas, checking out websites like Pinterest or unlockfood.ca (by the Dieticians of Canada) are always a good place to start!
6. You are your child’s first teacher – Although your child will soon have a Kindergarten teacher, you are your child’s first teacher. Make sure to teach them all you can before they enter Kindergarten to give them the best chance at being successful. Asking questions and making conversation with your child is important as your child will need those language skills to communicate with their new teacher and make new friends. Teaching how to hold a pencil, use a glue stick, and safely cut with scissors are also important as these abilities are needed with most Kindergarten activities. Don’t forget that teaching numbers, colors, the uppercase alphabet, and shapes can be done through fun games and during every day play!
7. Remember your own self-care – Your child’s transition into Kindergarten is a transition for you too – remember your self-care! Being able to communicate with your child’s new teacher either after school or through email can help you feel less anxious about your child being away from you in a new environment. This transition is also always a busy time and you may find yourself constantly on-the-go – don’t forget to take moments just for you! It can be as little as enjoying your favorite cup of tea in the morning before the day starts, calling a good friend while you wait for the final school bell to ring, or having a relaxing bath once the kids are in bed!