As you approach your child’s first day of kindergarten, you may be feeling a variety of different emotions. The transition to kindergarten is bittersweet – you’re letting go of one stage of life with your child and entering a brand new one. Like most transitions, this one may have you feeling anxious, excited, and maybe a little unprepared.
These emotions are perfectly normal, and your child is likely experiencing some of them, too. But a kindergartener’s first day of school doesn’t have to be scary. By preparing your child (and yourself) ahead of time, you’ll be able to tackle this transition from a place of calm.
Preparing Yourself as a Parent
The first step in getting ready to send your child to kindergarten is to prepare yourself emotionally. Children tend to feed off their parents’ energy, so if you’re feeling nervous and uncertain about your child’s first day, he or she will probably feel that way, too. Conversely, if you’re feeling positive and excited about kindergarten, your child will be more likely to adopt this attitude.
If you’re feeling anxious, it may help to know that education at Santa Fe Christian is an extension of what you do at home. We have the same priorities as you when it comes to your children. Before selecting SFC, you did your due diligence to research the administration, educational philosophy, and curriculum. So, rest in the comfort of knowing that you made a wise, informed decision.
Listen: Not sure if your child is ready for kindergarten? Listen to our recent podcast episode to learn what kindergarten readiness looks like and how you can support your child.
Getting Your Child Excited for the First Day of Kindergarten
Every child is different in terms of temperament and personality, so some children may need more encouragement than others before their first day of kindergarten.
You know your child better than anyone. Does he or she benefit from having a close friend with him or her? Work on helping him or her seek out some close friendships. Does he or she need every minute of the day spelled out to him or her? Make sure he or she knows what’s coming.
The following tips will help you shift your child’s attitude from nervous to excited.
Affirm Your Child
As the first day of school approaches, be sure to affirm your child with small pep talks. Speak words of encouragement such as, “You can do this. You’re ready for this. You’ve got this.” Providing reassurance to your child will go a long way toward helping him or her feel confident and prepared. As long as your child knows you have faith in him or her, he or she will be more likely to have faith in himself or herself.
Oftentimes, a kindergartener’s first-day jitters stem from a fear of not knowing anyone or not having any friends. You can help ease this anxiety by role-playing with your child to practice making friends and talking to other kids.
Also, Santa Fe Christian usually plans a few family events for incoming kindergarten parents. If you can, come and give your child the opportunity to get to know some future classmates! Any chance you have to form these social connections before the school year is ideal.
Review Classroom Logistics
Another source of stress for some new kindergarteners is not knowing what to do on the first day of school. They’re entering a brand new environment with new rules, activities, and people – this can be a bit daunting!
To help your children prepare for the first day, go over some of the basics together. For example, teach them how to pack their backpacks and help them pick out an outfit. Small actions like these can help your child feel prepared and excited for the first day of school.
Also, talk to your children about listening to their teacher. Explain that the teacher is there to explain everything to them about what to do and where to go. When children know to trust and listen to their teachers, they’ll no longer feel lost or uncertain.
It’s also a good idea to remind your children about bathroom independence. Kindergarten teachers are equipped to handle children who aren’t quite there yet, but they rely on parents to lead the charge.
Read more: Find out if your child is ready for kindergarten in our eBook packed with readiness tips, behavior to look for, and FAQs.
Prepare for a Smooth First Morning
To make that first morning run as smoothly as possible, be sure to have plenty of conversations with your child ahead of time. Try to establish some routines, like laying out clothes the night before or establishing a place for your child’s backpack. The morning should be marked by a sense of celebration and calm, and anything you can do ahead of time will help eliminate hiccups.
The night before the first day, walk your child through what’s coming next. When there are no surprises, children are more likely to go along with the new routine.
Parting Words for the Nervous Parent
As a leading Christian private school in San Diego, Santa Fe Christian is committed to supporting the work you already do as a parent. We’re excited to be on your team and to provide a comfortable, exciting learning environment for your child! You can rest assured that you made the right decision in choosing us for your child’s education, and we’re just as committed as you are to helping your kindergartener through this transition.