Monday, August 24, 2009

Preparing your child for the first day of kindergarten

The first day of school can be stressful for kids and their parents. The first day of kindergarten is can be more stressful. Many parents prepare their child academically but sometimes we can forget to teach them the really simple things that can make the difference between a great first day and a disaster. Right now is a great time to make these preparations.

This morning on WUSA9 Peggy Fox and I talked about how we can prepare our kindergarteners for the first day of school.

I often think the first day of a child’s academic career is harder on mom that it is on the child. It certainly was for me.

The best way to make it easier on you is to be prepared. Much of your anxiety is due to the fact that your child is no longer under your wing. Being prepared will relieve your fears.

Talk to other moms – we have all be there. We understand.

Get involved with the school -- this will also help you feel like you are still attached and part of your child’s academic adventure.

Most children just starting kindergarten have some the same fears. We think they are going to be concerned about the academics but mostly they are worried about the simply, everyday activities.

In the August issue of FAMILY Magazine, Paula Court tells us how she spoke with preschoolers and found that they had some pretty standard fears. Here is Paula’s list of the “Top Preschooler Questions.”

How Will I Get to School?
How Do I Find My Classroom?
What If I Have to Go to the Restroom?
What Will Lunchtime Be Like?
How Will I Get Home After School?

Paula’s Tip for Moms
Remember- children watch you carefully and listen to everything you say, so if you're worried or apprehensive about anything concerning kindergarten-don't show it. If this is your first child to go to school, don’t cry in front of your child. That might be really hard, but it will help them a great deal.

My Own Experience

I can remember every first day of school for my four children. Each day was different just like each of my children are unique. When my oldest went off to kindergarten for the first time, I was really scared. This was my first child and I did not know what to do. She was pretty confident and marched right into the classroom without much hesitation at all. She walked up to where the other kindergarteners where sitting in a circle and the teacher was reading a book. She sat down and started listening.

The teacher said hello to her and smiled at me. I knew that was my cue to leave. I turned around and walked out of the classroom. And, then I squeezed in right behind the door and peeked into the room. My daughter had her back to me and could not see me but I could see her.

I cried like a baby. It was so silly. I was standing behind a door peeking through the crack, crying. If anyone had walked past me they surely would have laughed. After a few minutes I became confident that she was going to survive without me so I went out to my car. I sat in the parking lot and cried some more.

I still cry on the first day of school. I even cried when my kids went off to college. There is just something so touching to me about starting that journey and beginning a new year of school. Every year you give your children a bit more independence and they move closer and closer to being separate from you. You loose some things but you gain others. You are proud and at the same time sad to see them grow up.

Tell us a little about your experiences, fears and how you feel about your little ones going off to school. We can all share the experience together.

Happy Parenting, Brenda

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