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Navigating the First Day of Kindergarten

par Jennifer Liong août 30, 2023 4 lire la lecture

Navigating the First Day of Kindergarten

Summer is coming to an end and back to school is just around the corner. The first day of kindergarten is a big milestone for our little people and our Daryl is going to have his first day next week.  What are we doing to prepare him?  Here's our list of 10 things to do to prepare for a smooth transition into kindergarten! 

1. Visiting the school

We never really thought of this but have you had a chance to visit the school with your child before the big day? I think about my work as a photographer and how I scout locations before my clients arrive. The same thing with scouting locations: visiting the school, taking a stroll around the building, exploring the playground and peeking into the classrooms will help.

Familiarity can work wonders in easing the jitters. Allow your child to ask questions and get a feel for the environment. This exposure can help in making one feel at home on the first day of school.

2. Talking about it

As simple as it sounds is the power of communication. Open up the floor for questions and conversations. Discuss what to expect, the new people they'll be meeting at school and new things they will be learning.  Share stories from your first day of school and make it relatable.  It is also okay for them to feel nervous so acknowledge that feeling if it shows up in conversation.

3. Creating a routine 

Daryl doesn't do naps anymore but he's certainly been going to bed later than usual over the summer.  With one week before school starts, adjust their sleep, mealtimes and napping time to align with the school routine.  This will give them a sense of familiarity next week and ease them into the rhythm of things without feeling overwhelmed. 

4. Practicing independence 

Kindergarten introduces our little one to more independence than what they might be used to. Encourage them to practice using the restrooms themselves, putting on their shoes and tidying up after themselves. These small things can boost their confidence and encourage a smoother transition. 

5. Labeling their belongings

This is a quick and easy one but label their backpacks, lunchboxes, inside of their jackets and shoes with their names. This will help prevent items getting lost throughout the school year. 

6. Packing a familiar (comfort) object 

We call it a piece of home in their backpack. Sending your child off with a familiar object from home can be a source of security. It could be a small family photo, a special blanket or a small toy. Having something from home can provide a sense of home in this new adventure. 

7. Meeting the teacher 

Putting faces to names can also lift the worry of so many new things in one day. It's a great opportunity for our little one to see the friendly face they'll be spending their days with. This interaction in advance can help build a connection and ease any anxiety that they have. 

We are fortunate that Daryl has the same kindergarten teacher that big sis had and therefore, he's already met her multiple times.  Take advantage of the introductions or drop-in sessions that schools typically host during the summer to meet and greet the teacher.

8. Labeling their feelings

Validating their feelings and emotions will help in a big way. Starting kindergarten comes with a mix of emotions for both parents and the kids. Have heart-to-heart conversations where you ask questions like, "Are you excited to meet new friends?", "What do you think of the playground?" or "Anything you're curious about?" This open dialogue creates a safe space for them to express themselves. Acknowledging these feelings will help them in looking forward to their first day. 

9. Planning the morning 

The first morning of kindergarten sets the tone for the day. Plan a morning that's calm and unhurried. Wake up a little earlier to avoid rushing. Prepare your little one's favourite breakfast from the night before if possible and spend the time talking and sitting with them throughout their eating time. 

10. Staying positive 

Children are sensitive to their surroundings. Your attitude toward kindergarten greatly influences their perception. Be excited and positive when discussing their school and teacher. This will be contagious and make our little one look forward to this new adventure. 

To all those parents who are experiencing first day of kindergarten for the first time, this can be an emotional moment as you send off your child for the first time.  I remember balling my eyes out when we sent Blythe off to school for the first time, and I was trying to catch every glimpse of her through the school windows while trying to be discrete. 

Engage them in conversation, create structure and routine, and don't be afraid to let them express their feelings.  And if you don't get to any of the above on the list, that is very much okay too.  Be in the moment and experience their experience.  And know that we're all in this together so we are sending all of you big hugs and good vibes.  You've got this!


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