messyplayforeveryday

A collection of fun activities for little hands!

15 Ways to Emotionally Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten

on August 3, 2012

In 5 short weeks my daughter will be starting kindergarten (how did THAT happen?!).  When you ask people what to do to prepare them for this new adventure most will immediately give you ways to academically prepare them for the day, but no one every says how to prepare them mentally and emotionally for it.  So here’s a quick list of things to try with your soon to be kindergartener.  Please remember that while all of these things are going to be useful tools to prepare your child, it may not stop them from crying or not wanting you to leave.  At the end of the day your child is a child and this journey, while exciting, is also very scary so support them in every way possible!

1.  Visit the school as many times as possible.  Play on the playground, look at the classroom and meet with the teacher so on their first day it’s not unfamiliar.

2.  Go to the library and take out some “First Day of Kindergarten” books.  Most of your child’s favorite cartoons or characters have created books on this topic so read them and let them see how these characters react and adjust.

3.  Write a social story depicting the first day.  A social story is a story you write incorporating in your child and walking them through what the first day may look like.  To make it even better take pictures and include them in your book.

4.  Find out (if at all possible) the names of some of the children in their class and set up several play dates.  This will help them on the first day when they see a familiar face.

5.  Take them shopping or let them look through their closet to pick out a first day outfit.

6. Have your child help you write an “Exciting and Scary” list where they tell you things they think will be exciting and scary about kindergarten.

7.  Get a schedule of the day (we got one at orientation) and run a mock school day at home.  It’s not only a fun rainy day activity, but will also let them feel a little more confident as to what will happen.

8.  Find a special from home trinket to wear or tuck in a pocket.  We made a locket for my daughter with a picture of our family in it.

9.  The night before allow them to help pack their own lunch or snack.

10.  Include in their bag a special note or picture so they’re reminded that their not alone and you’re still thinking about them.

11.  Have your child draw a picture of what the first day may look like.

12.  Do a dry run of drop off.  Drive or walk to the school and show them where they will be going.

13.  Practice walking to the classroom from the door they will enter the building in, as well as down to the bathroom and back to the class.

14.  Talk, write, paint etc.  about the emotions they may be feeling about leaving their familiar routine and beginning kindergarten.

15.  Finally and most importantly, validate how they feel and tell them how you felt on your first day.  You may even show them pictures of your own first day of school to help them see their not alone and even you had the same experience.

Best of luck on your first day preparations and may your little ones have a great school year!

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