Kindergarten Jitters

If you’re starting to get anxious about how your little one will handle the transition to kindergarten, take heart. It is a big deal and you’re both entitled to feel nervous. For a child, the idea of heading off to school with the big kids can be both exciting and slightly terrifying.

But there are things you can do right now to calm that pit in your stomach and help get your child ready for the changes and uncertainty that go hand-in-hand with starting a new school. Like almost everything else in life, preparation is the key to a successful outcome, and it’s no different when we’re talking kindergarten.

Mid-August is the perfect time to start addressing those fears. One of the best ways to ease her into the transition is to let her get familiar with the facility itself. Follow these simple steps and she will be raring to go once September rolls around.

  • Start heading over to school together a few times a week to play. Follow the route the bus (or you) will take each morning and point out landmarks as you go. This will help you both get familiar with how long it takes to get there, traffic patterns, where to park, etc.
  • Bring some snacks and a friend and make a bee line for the playground. Then let her play on the play equipment, roller skate on the black top, explore the school grounds and peek into the windows of the school.
  • Show her where she will be getting off the bus and which door she will be going in. If the school is open, take her inside and introduce yourselves to the school secretary and ask if you can take a quick tour. Make sure you check out the kindergarten room, the bathroom, the multipurpose room, and the library.
  • Take some pictures of the front of the school, the playground, and all the places you visited. Once you get home, spend some time looking at them together and talking about everything she did and all the things she saw.

When the first day of kindergarten arrives, you will both be feeling a lot more confident about everything! So go ahead and start to incorporate this one thing into your summer days. As we get closer to September, I’ll add a few more pearls that are guaranteed to help her get off to a good start.

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Ellen W. Schrier, LCSW, is a family therapist and the mother of three adolescent/young adult kids.

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2 responses to “Kindergarten Jitters”

  1. Ann

    Good post but it makes a couple of assumptions:
    1) Schools around here start now–some kids are already back, the late starters begin next week, so this post is too late!
    2) We don’t find out bus assignments until two days before class starts and teacher assignments until the night before school starts. Our district has a grade center system, so there are eight kindergarten classrooms!

    We have done picnics at the playground about a week before school starts and they’ve always been a hit–we invite everyone else we know who is going to school and it’s fun for both the parents and kids!

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