When you are preparing your child for kindergarten you don’t have to let anxiety get the best of you. Of course this is a major life changing transition for you and your child but there’s no need to make it harder by not following these simple steps.
- Find the right school. Search high and low for the school that fits your child’s personality and learning style. Does your child like to work with her hands, enjoy the outdoors, and loves art? You may want to consider a Waldorf-themed school, such as John Morse Waldof Methods school, since they tend to specialize in educating beyond books. Take the time to visit at least 3 schools so you can get a feel for how the schools are run, what the principle’s learning philosophy is, and what matters most to the school staff. This is the most important act you can do for y our child that is certain to pay off with your child’s happiness and your own peace of mind.
- Prepare early. Once your child is settled into pre-school, usually after 3-5 months, that is the time to start talking about kindergarten. Just mentioning the fact they will be changing schools in the future can help take some of the stress out since your child will be conditioned to the fact that change is coming. Change can cause stress and lead to behavior issues so you want to introduce this when it is best for you and your child, but certainly you want to do it well before it is time to enter kindergarten. Talking about it early also forces you to begin answering questions and thus reaffirm your reason for choosing the school and thereby making you more comfortable with your choice. If you are comfortable, your child will be as well.
- Find out which of your child’s current classmates will be attending the new school/classroom. There’s always one or two, so reach out to their parents to talk about the transition. Not only will you be able to share what you know, but you will undoubtedly learn something from the other parent. You may also find a carpool companion or play date partner. But the best thing is you will be able to share with your child the fact that one of their friends will also attend the new school and thus bring something familiar to the conversation and, indeed, to the new school. Familiarity also helps to diffuse stress and will help ease the transition to the new school.
If your child will be just moving to a new classroom but staying at their current school your job is a little easier. This is a common transition and does take some of the stress away. In these cases you can work with your school to meet the teacher and visit their class room in preparation for moving into Kindergarten. This is what is currently going on at Great Beginnings in preparation for extending their infant to preschool to kindergarten and first grade.
The key is for you to prepare so that you can be ready early and ensure the transition is easy for you and your child.