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Habitot Children's Museum

Habitot Children's Museum
2065 Kittredge Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 647-1111
www.habitot.org

Parenting Q&A
Parenting Question of the Month My child is starting kindergarten in the fall. What can I do to ease the transition
      (and mine)?

Starting kindergarten is a big and exciting change in a child’s life -- and in yours. Parents and children alike may have mixed emotions about this transition. Children can be eager or anxious, or both! You may feel proud that your child has grown independent and is moving into the next stage of life and sad about the end of the preschool years. The unknowns of what kindergarten will be like and whether your child will be happy and successful there are in the back of everyone’s mind.

There are many ways to help prepare your child for kindergarten and you’ve probably been doing a lot of them already. Reading to your child every day, talking about everyday things, exploring nature, singing songs together, making art, and showing your own curiosity about the world are crucial to your child’s success in school. As the first day of school approaches, however, it’s time for you to focus on helping get emotionally ready and excited about this next step.

Here are some steps you can take to support your child through this transition:

    Visit the school. The idea of kindergarten can be a little difficult for a child to imagine if he has never visited a classroom. Take him to the school to let him see the classroom and perhaps meet his teacher before school starts.
    Get on a regular morning routine. If you are not already on a regular morning routine, start waking up at the same time everyday, get your child dressed, have breakfast and be ready to start the day about the time you would leave for the bus or school.
    Talk about school – pretend play! If this is your child’s first experience in a school setting, talk about some of the things she will do in kindergarten (sitting in desks or at tables, working on projects, joining circle time, having recess, eating lunch with other children, riding a bus home). Help your child understand that kindergarten won’t have as much “free play” as preschool or home. Use dolls and stuffed animals to create a classroom and play “kindergarten” as a game with your child.
    Give choices. Let your child make choices about school supplies, clothes and lunch food. This can help your child feel more confident and in control. It also increases independence skills!
    Talk about feelings. Listen carefully to your child’s thoughts and ideas about school. Respond honestly and lovingly about any fears or anxieties your child may be having. If you have your own feelings or anxiety, try not to share them with your child. This is especially important if you didn’t have the best experiences in school. Let your child have a fresh start.
    Maintain a positive attitude. Your child will be greatly influenced by the feelings you show. Above all, communicate how proud you are that your child is grown up and going to kindergarten. Express confidence that your child will succeed in school. Share your enthusiasm about all your child is going to learn and do.


Above all, be patient with yourself and your son as you both adjust to this transition. You’ll be amazed at how well you both adapt in just a few weeks’ time!

Parenting Resources

Transition To Kindergarten Parent Guides. (2001 - 2007) Education.com Web Site: http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Introduction_Entry/

Getting School Ready! (2009) Getting School Ready Web Site: http://www.gettingschoolready.org/

Starting Kindergarten: How To Prepare Your Child. (2010) Family Education Web Site: http://school.familyeducation.com/kindergarten/anxiety/51261.html?page=2&detoured=1

 
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