How to Ease Kindergarten Jitters
Help Your Child with the Transition to Kindergarten
Jun 26, 2008 Elizabeth Nolan
Even if your child has attended preschool or daycare, Kindergarten jitters are common. Kids worry about a lot of different things when entering an unfamiliar situation. As a parent, there are a few specific things you can do to ease their transition to elementary school.
What Parents Can Do
Stay Positive. Keeping the topic of school positive and exciting is important. Don't let your own emotions influence your child's feelings about starting school.
Be Sensitive. Validate your child's fears and reassure him or her. Point out how he or she has succeeded in new challenges in the past, and will be fine with this challenge too. Point out that you, too, have felt nervous about starting something new, such as a new job. Give specific examples when your child might have felt jitters before and how they handled it well, such as performing in a dance recital or ballgame.
Adjust Schedules Early. Don't wait until the day before school starts to give your child an earlier bedtime or wake up call. If your child knows the routine of what is expected on a school morning in advance, it definitely will make school mornings less stressful.
Stay Involved. Join the PTO or volunteer in the classroom. This keeps you up to date on what is happening within the school and also gives you a chance to meet your child's classmates. Kids do get excited to have their parents witness their new independence.
Things to Do with Your Child
Make School Prep Fun. Making the shopping trip to buy new clothes and school supplies fun can make your child feel special and excited about school.
Read Books. Reading with your child has always been a wonderful bonding experience. There are many books about starting Kindergarten that highlight some of the feelings your child may be having. Libraries and bookstores often have a shelf dedicated to these type of books over the summer months, so be sure to read a few with your child. This will also help you and your child talk about their fears.
Visit the School. Many schools offer an opportunity for the kids to visit the school and to meet the teacher before the new school year begins. Be sure to participate in these opportunities with your child, as it will give them an increased comfort level as they become familiar with the building, classroom, playground and teacher. You will also have a chance to meet other parents so you can exchange contact information and set up playdates over the summer.
View School Websites. Many teachers post a lot of information on their classroom websites such as needed supplies, photos of the classroom, school calendar, or the schedule of a typical day, as well as useful links and resources that you may want to be familiar with throughout the year.
Meet other Kindergarteners. Whether through playgroups, church groups, library storytimes, camps, or recreation department summer classes, look for venues with similar aged children attending so your child can interact with potential classmates. Having a familiar face in the classroom on the first day lessens some anxiety.
Keep in mind, every child is different as to how quickly they adapt to new situations. Keep communication open and positive with your child and be sensitive to their apprehension. Chances are by Halloween, you will have a very confident Kindergartener.