Ten Things to Know Before Your Child Starts Kindergarten

the black cubes are oil leaks

Top Ten Things to know before your child starts Kindergarten

  1. Make sure your child can manage their own clothing. Can they independently do their own fasteners? Can they ask for help if they need it without being embarrassed? Please pack a complete change of clothes, including shoes, in your child’s backpack. 
  2. Does your child know how to take turns? Practice with your child games like Chutes and Ladders or Candy Land to practice turn-taking in a fun way. 
  3. Does your child know how to open everything in their lunch box? Practice using a lunch box and teach your child to independently open and close all of their containers and packages. It’s a good idea to do home lunch the first week, even if you plan to do School lunch most of the time. Having familiar foods at eating time helps them transition at first. It’s also a good idea to pack extras for snack. 
  4. Label EVERYTHING, including socks and underwear. Please make sure their coat and their backpack are labeled and they know that other people might have coats/backpacks/lunch boxes that look like theirs. 
  5. Can your child recognize their name? Can they recognize their first letter? It is not necessary to start Kindergarten knowing their ABCs and sounds, but it helps them adapt to school work more quickly if they have some skills in name writing. If that is too hard, teach them to write their initials in capital letters. 
  6. Does your child know how old they are and how to count to at least 10? In Kindergarten we teach them to count to 100, and if they still struggle to recognize numbers 1-10 it makes it really challenging for them to feel successful. Practice counting while playing and help your child to feel comfortable with numbers. 
  7. What kind of stamina for cognitive challenge does your child have? Do they give up quickly and avoid hard intellectual activities? Do they choose to do activities that they know they excel at and have mastered, or are they comfortable trying new things they will have to work hard at? Kindergarten is a bridge from meaningful, inquiry play to independent work. They will be expected to engage in problem solving and to work their best. 
  8. What does your child do when they are frustrated? Angry? Sad? Do they know how to voice their feelings and advocate for themselves without monopolizing the group or hurting others? 
  9. Make sure your child knows you trust the school and that it is a safe place for them to be by dropping them off with an “I love you,” and “I’ll pick you up later.” Please don’t linger and drag the parting out, that makes it harder on your child to acclimate. It’s ok if your child has tears, and it’s ok if they don’t. Likely, it is going to be much harder on the adults to separate than it is for the child.
  10. Don’t forget to start some “back to school” traditions. Some families get new clothes, some make a special first day of School meal, some start journals. There are many ways your family can mark this occasion! 

Don’t forget how precious time is, and just enjoy every moment!!