It’s time for kindergarten: Are you ready for their first day?

Your kindergartener may be ready for their first day of school, but are you?

As summertime winds down, it’s time to think about and prepare for children starting their first day of school. Just like turning the calendar, it quickly becomes the very first day of kindergarten. You can do many things to be ready for your child’s first day, but there may be plenty of emotions the first time your child gets on the bus or the first time you say goodbye to them at their classroom. There are ways to plan for that first day and you can prepare for the emotions that will certainly become part of the occasion. The following are some ideas to get ready for the very emotional moments to come.

Vvisit the child’s school to meet their new teacher. If you are not able to visit before school starts, try to meet with their teacher before the first school bell rings on day one. It is very important to have a relationship with your child’s teacher. Do not feel as if you have to visit the classroom every day.

There are many ways to keep in touch and find out how your child is doing at school. With computers, tablets and smart phones, you can message and email the teacher any time with questions or concerns. However, please remember they are working hard and probably will not be able to respond immediately in most cases. Also, do not message or email too often as responding to each message takes valuable time away from the classroom. Always remember that having a good relationship with your child’s teacher can positively affect success in the classroom.

Speaking of the classroom, it is great for parent and child to see the classroom at least once before the first day of school. This is the traditional way to say hi to the teacher and introduce your child to the upcoming new environment. Most schools, especially for kindergarten, will have a scheduled day before the start of school to introduce families to the surroundings and educators.

When children meet their new teacher and see their classroom ahead of the start of school, they will know what to expect when they walk into kindergarten that very first time. Their new environment will feel very familiar to them and they will have a much easier time establishing relationships with other children and their teacher.

Spend time talking about kindergarten and describe what the classroom routine will be like. Let your children know some of the expectations the teacher will have of them and what a general routine will be like. Feel free to talk about the new experiences they will have such as making new friends, playing on the playground and having lunch in the cafeteria.

Try to get an early start on that first day. Make sure you are actually ready the night before by having shoes and clothes out and ready to go. You may even want to have lunches packed before bedtime. Finally, make sure everyone, including parents, gets to bed at a decent time so there is a greater chance of a good night’s sleep. In the morning, have everyone sit down to a good breakfast so you can take one more time to discuss what is about to happen. You may want to take pictures and have one last conversation of what school will be like.

Michigan State University Extension recommends the following resources on kindergarten readiness:

To learn about the positive impact children and families are experience due to MSU Extension programs, read our 2016 Impact Reports: “Preparing young children to success” and “Preparing the future generation for success.” Additional impact reports, highlighting even more ways Michigan 4-H and MSU Extension positively impacted individuals and communities in 2016, can be downloaded from the Michigan 4-H website.

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