As a parent, sending your child to kindergarten can feel scary.
But as daunting as it is to see the big yellow school bus take your little one off to kindergarten, try calming your child’s transition anxiety (and yours!) with four tips provided by Susan Michal, the director of early childhood education at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
1. Visit the new kindergarten room.
This allows your student to get comfy with where they will be learning during the school year. It is their opportunity to see all the fun new games and toys they will get to experience. Visiting the classroom can also help alleviate fears your child may have about navigating the “big kid” school, such as: What hallway do I take? Where do I get off the bus? An early trip will help you map that out together.
2. Meet the teacher.
While visiting the classroom, meet the teacher. This is an opportunity to get to know the person who will be spending a lot of time with your child. Ask to exchange contact information so the teacher can share your child’s work. Be honest with the new teacher about your concerns.
3. Network with other parents and introduce kids before the first day.
Introducing your child to some of the other students before class starts can be a helpful way to ease the jitters. Having a new buddy can make the new school less scary. Networking isn’t a bad idea for parents, either. Having a support system of parents and caregivers in the same boat can alleviate your worries.
4. Make school a family affair.
To really soothe those fears, get involved. Know what your child is learning, and practice those skills at home. “This shows your child that you value their work at school,” Michal says. Listen to their day, and find out what new thing they learned to create meaningful conversation. Whether it is writing the alphabet, numbers or anything new, just ask.
To keep your new student excited, create an ongoing mural of celebrations for the house. Start with a smiling picture of your child. Every time your child learns something new or makes a new friend, celebrate by adding a picture, note or drawing to commemorate those accomplishments. This will be a proud moment for you and an exciting one for them.