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From Pre-K to Kindergarten: Tips for a Smooth Transition

August 16th, 2017

Woman walking little girl to first day of school.Starting kindergarten can be intimidating, even for children who have experienced an early education program. While preschool helps prepare little ones both socially and academically for school, the first days in a new school or classroom are often both exciting and scary. These tips can make the transition as smooth as possible for both you and your children.

  • Visit the school/meet the teacher — Most schools will set up a special time for you and your kindergartener to get to know her new teacher and classroom. If the school does not offer this meeting or you were unable to attend, call the school or contact your child’s teacher to see if you can arrange a quick visit. Knowing what to expect will provide you both with a sense of security.
  • Send a special need reminder — Send a note to the school nurse and your child’s teacher about any allergies or special needs. Even if you’ve included this on other forms, with the number of names, faces, and allergies for teachers to learn it’s best to send a quick reminder.
  • Set up play dates with classmates — Being acquainted with parents of classmates is a huge help when it comes to play dates, but that’s not always the case. Some teachers will set up a class play date before the first day of school allowing children to get to know each other in a playful environment. This is also a great time for you to get to know other parents and discuss future play dates. During the first couple weeks of school, ask your child about friends he’s making. Pay attention to names he mentions most often and send a letter or email to the parents of those children asking if they’d be interested in scheduling a time for them to play outside of school.
  • Practice routines — Morning routines are extremely helpful when it comes time to get ready for school. Bedtime routines are also a great way to relax and get settled in for a good night’s sleep. Try not to wait until the last minute to start your routines, starting a week or two early will make the adjustment a bit easier. *Click here to learn more about the benefits of routines*
  • Talk about feelings — Listen to your child’s thoughts and concerns. Help her find a way to turn the worries into something to look forward to. E.g. “I know you’ll miss me, I’ll miss you too. Just think of the great big hugs we’ll have when you get home!”
  • Label everything — Label your child’s backpack, lunchbox, clothing, and all other belongings. Make a nametag (if the school hasn’t supplied one) including your child’s name, teacher, and a phone number where you can be reached in an emergency.
  • Get organized — Set up a special place for school papers (separate incoming and outgoing), backpack, shoes, jackets, lunchbox, etc. Lay out clothes for the next day, pre-pack lunch, prep breakfast, make sure your camera is charged and ready!
  • Be positive — As a parent, worry is inevitable. Do your best to keep the worry from carrying over to your child by staying optimistic and cheerful. Avoid negativity and behaviors that might upset him, such as arguments or tearful goodbyes.

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