Whether it be your first or your fourth little one, getting ready for kindy can be an exciting, and sometimes frightening, time.
Your future academic genius may be super excited about venturing into the wide world of playground politics and the ABC’s, nervously terrified or completely indifferent.
Any way they feel is completely normal and the way you help them to embrace these feelings and move forward into a long schooling adventure is important. Not to mention your own feelings of loss, sadness or unbridled joy – no judgement here!
It’s been 12 years since my first child ran enthusiastically into the classroom with not even a sideways glance at me blubbering in the doorway, and I’ve since seen 2 more off into the wonderful world of education, social interaction and the overwhelmingly unnecessary accumulation of sandpit sand in their shoes EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Number four is set to fly next year so I’m a bit of an old hat, but every child is different and ready (or not) at their own time.
To make the transition into kindy a little easier, here are some hot tips to follow:
Preparation is key
It’s a big thing, starting school. And although they will likely only be there for a couple of days a week and will probably have a transition period at first, you need to prepare your son/daughter for the life change.
If your child is a younger sibling, they will more than likely be super pumped about starting school like their big brother or sister and they will be familiar with the school grounds. For those who have never been to the school, do a drive by. Point out the classrooms and playgrounds or plan your drive/walk/ride to the school.
At the orientation and information sessions, see if they will allow you to bring your child to the school to introduce the environment before the big day arrives.
Start a Routine
About a month before school starts (or even earlier if you like), start a morning routine. Get up at the same time, have breakfast, get dressed, pack a lunch, brush teeth etc to get into the habit and let your child know what you expect of them in the mornings when they have school.
Plan snacks to coincide with times they will eat at school and try to encourage a rest in the afternoon. Daycare kids usually have the advantage of already having structured routines in an environment outside of the home but little people are resilient and thrive on routine so your pre-schooler will probably love the novelty of this new schedule.
Up To Speed
There are a few basic requirements kids need to have mastered to be accepted into kindy. If your small human is not 100% confident in some of these tasks, working on them at home in the months prior to school starting will make sure they’ve got all the boxes ticked when it comes to keeping up with the other kids.
- Washing hands – after going to the toilet, when dirty or when they have been coughing or sneezing. Help them soap, lather, rinse and dry. Some kindys will have loud hand dryers which can freak kids out, so have some fun in the toilets at the shops/movies/petrol station and get them used to the sound and force of the air.
- Toileting – school can be a little stressful which can result in toilet training going backwards in a coping mechanism. Keep this in mind but make sure your son/daughter is fully and confidently toilet trained before starting kindy. Oh, and don’t forget the flush!
- Putting your stuff away – hats, bags, shoes, drink bottles. Everything will have its place at kindy and the fun of this new game means your house might be a little tidier!
- Tissues – whilst you might be well trained in picking up used tissues at home, the kindy teacher is not. Teach your child to place used tissues in the bin – sounds a bit unnecessary but you’d be surprised.
- Opening and closing packets and bottles – teachers and EA’s spend a huge amount of time opening containers and bottles at recess and lunch time.
- Shoes – tying shoe laces is a skill not usually mastered until age 5 or 6 so start the school year off easy with Velcro or slip on shoes.
Starting kindy is huge milestone for your child and they’ll be attending school for a very long time, but education really does start in the home. Start with these bits and pieces to get your budding student ready but most of all, talk about school. Talk about how awesome it will be, how big they are to be going, the activities they might be doing and how much fun they will have. They’ll be dressed, packed and ready to start before you are!
Do you have a son or daughter starting kindy next year? If you need some support or just want some like minded Mums to chat to, come and join our Facebook Group South West Mum Life.