We often tend to think that our child needs to know everything before entering kindergarten, we want to turn him into a university graduate even before his first year starts. We should never forget that school is there to teach our children new notions, not to demonstrate things that he already knows. Like a circus school is there to teach new acrobatics and the circus is the place to demonstrate those acrobatics. So, it is not necessary to know how to read, to count to 100, to be able to multiply or to knit a sweater. He must only be ready to learn. He will have plenty of time to demonstrate his talents and knowledge later on.
Here are some tips and advices to prepare your child for kindergarten without and worries and without tears (especially from mom and dad).
- Help your child to calm down if he is very active.
- Help him pay attention to others.
- Teach him self-motivation and self-esteem; it only needs a few words of encouragement. Most importantly, do not put too much pressure on him.
- Whether your child is enthusiastic or anxious at the thought of beginning school, make him feel safer by explaining what kindergarten is with simple words.
- Tell him that he will make new friends and play with them.
- Tell him that there will always be an adult he can trust.
- Talk positively about school. Avoid remarks like “It was hard for the first few days but after a while I liked it”, he doesn’t need to hear that.
- Reassure your child on specific matters like the schedule, and his daily routine.
- Teach your child to become a “big kid”: getting dressed by himself, paying attention to his environment, finding his things, putting his toys away, being clean.
It is important to establish good eating habits, to eat at fixed times and understand that he cannot nibble all day.
Also establish a resting schedule and adopt a regular sleep pattern. It means going to bed early and getting up early. You can also check with his future school if there is a fixed time for naps and begin to make his sleep at the same time.
Work his gross motor skills with him through play. Why don’t you play ball with the family or go to the park to access the play structures. Even if it sounds trite, teaching him to color within the lines and to fold napkins also helps his motor skills.
Preparing the material
Make sure that he feels good with his school material. If you cannot buy the huge Buzz Lightyear sketchbook, buy a regular notebook and stick a Buzz sticker on it. For your child, Buzz is Buzz and that’s it. You can even make him participate to the purchases by saying that you are both going to Big Kids Land. Don’t forget to write your child’s name on all his things, no, really, on everything!
Most of all, don’t share your own stress. Be calm and he will be calm so it will calm you even more. It is a wheel that goes on.
Beginning school will be a separation for a child, but also for his parents. Start talking about it in advance. Explain that it is like mom going to work. She leaves for a little while and then she comes back. Reassuring him will reassure you too.
Don’t hesitate to inquire to your school or your teacher if you have questions. Avoid reflections such as “I know how it works, I’ve been there!” Maybe you did, but it was a long time ago.
Keep in mind that there will be an important adaptation period, for you as well as for your child.