It’s that time of year! New beginnings and maybe even some fresh starts. Is your child ready for kindergarten? School readiness actually starts at birth and if you haven’t already formally done that, don’t worry. There’s no need to pull out the flashcards OR your hair. No need to purchase Baby Einstein and go through every video. Since young children learn best through play, chances are you have been doing just the right thing all along!
You can make the transition from home to school easier by playing! Your child’s teacher will have over 20 “littles” to work with. You can help develop your child’s patience by playing board games and taking turns. You have already been doing that, right?
- Encourage your child to persist, even when things don’t go quite the way he thinks they should. Encourage him to figure out the problem and when he gets stuck, how to ask for help.
- Being away from mom all day for the first time can be difficult for a child (and moms too!) Find a trusted neighbor or family member that will stay with your child a few hours at a time so he can get used to being his own person.
- Take a walk to the school and play on the playground when it is calm and inviting.
- Read to your child and talk about the beginning, the middle and the end of the book. There are many books available about the first day of school that you can find at the library. “The Kissing Hand” is one of those and it is delightful.
- Draw with markers, write a story, and experience crayon and chalk. Buy some glue and glue sticks and get messy. Those kinds of things take a little practice (and patience).
- Count objects throughout the house using your own décor. “Let’s hunt for candles. How many white candles do we have in our house? Let’s count!”
- Sing and dance and have some fun.
- Enjoy some quiet time, a cookie and some milk, and one last rest time calmly talking about what to expect and how exciting school is going to be. Allow for some apprehension too. All feelings are valid and real to your child.
- On the first day of school, assure your child with confidence that everything will be just fine and that you will return exactly at the right time when school is over. And those tears? Yours, not his. Save them for the ride home when you are alone. Your child is going to be just fine.
Arizona’s Children Association’s Family Education & Support Services are a unique family resource dedicated to providing parents and caregivers with training and tools to promote the optimal development of every child from birth to adolescence. Our programs and services were created to promote the importance of brain development and share techniques with families that will build positive parent-child relationships and ultimately lay a foundation for their child’s life success, as well as provide opportunities for parents and children to learn and grow together.
For more information on the programs and services offered, visit www.ArizonasChildren.org and click on Services: Family Education & Support.
Shelley Joy Tellez, BS
Director of Prevention and PAT
Arizona’s Children Association