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Back to School: 5 Tips to Help Your Child Ease Into Kindergarten

Back-to-school season is just around the corner. While many parents will be falling back into the same school year as years past, others will be sending their kids to kindergarten for the first time. If this is you, you’re not alone. However, these weeks leading up to your child’s transition to a new school environment can shape the rest of their kindergarten life. So having a back-to-school game plan at this point isn’t just advisable, it’s absolutely important. Here are five helpful tips for taking your child to kindergarten.

1. Establish a Consistent Sleep Routine

Five-year-olds need a minimum of 10 hours of sleep each night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. So, it’s crucial to set a steady wake and sleep schedule.

Anxiety, excitement and changes in routine will likely make this a difficult goal to achieve in the first day of school. Add to that the exhaustion and confusion that come with being in a completely new educational environment, and you can expect a few meltdowns as your child tries to cope.

You can help by implementing a wake and sleep schedule as early as the first week of August. With a consistent routine in place, they’ll be better positioned to concentrate in school, remember things, regulate emotions and behave well.

2. Visit the New School at Your Earliest Opportunity

Your child might be worried about getting lost in their new school, and that’s perfectly normal. To help calm their nerves, see if you can arrange a tour before the end of summer. 

While you’re there, do things on the playground together. Practice the walk to the classroom. Let them know where they’ll be picked up and dropped off every day. Do and say these things so they start feeling that kindergarten is also part of their world.

According to Psychology Today, the process of envisioning and discussing the future together with your child is exactly the emotional preparation they need to transition seamlessly from one grade to the next.  

3. Embrace Positive Talk

If you really want to make your child’s transition to kindergarten smooth and fun, then you should shun negative or uninspiring language by all means. If anything, it kills their motivation and makes them want to avoid school completely. As opposed to: “Are you scared about starting kindergarten?” or “Are you worried?” say things like, “You’re so lucky to join school next year!”

4. Be Clear About What to Expect

While it’s okay to hype up your child about the prospect of joining kindergarten, it’s not okay to lie to them. Help them maneuver the big transition by being honest from the get-go.

Resist the temptation to say things like, “It’ll be the most fun you’ve ever had,” and never undermine your child’s legitimate concerns or fears. Instead, supply them with information about their new school and make sure you’re instilling confidence and clarity in them every moment you can.

5. Take Back-to-School Shopping Seriously

Back-to-school shopping is about much more than the thrill of finding the perfect new backpack. It’s an incredibly satisfying experience that connects a parent with their child on a much deeper level. Don’t let bargain hunting distract you from this important time with your child.

Of course, a perfect backpack needs a perfect new pair of shoes to go with it. The back-to-school shoes at Finish Line, for instance, can help your child step into kindergarten with confidence and style.

Start the New School Year Off Right

Who said sending kids to kindergarten has to be a confusing and stressful experience? With the tips above, you’ll be raring to go in no time. This is a big moment for you and your child, so make every little interaction count, because as they say, it’s the little things that truly matter.