The transition from kindergarten to 1st grade can be a big one for kids. It means a full day of school versus a half day, lunch time with the big kids, and being away from mom. All these can lead to some very understandable anxiety for your 1st grader.
There are a few things that you can do as a parent to help the transition go smoother for your 1st grader and yourself.
- If they are still taking naps start weaning them off now so they can get used to the full day schedule.
- Start going to bed and getting up at the time you will be when school starts to get your kids in the habit early. This will make will make it so much easier when they actually have to get ready for school in the morning.
- Create a routine and go over it with your child. Talk about and/or write out the morning checklist of how their routine will go (make bed, get dressed, breakfast, brush teeth, backpack, etc.) The more they know what to expect the less anxious they will be.
- Talk to your 1st grader about some of the differences with the new full day of school (recess, lunch, snack time, start and end time, homework, etc.) This will help them know what to expect and help you as a parent learn what their biggest concerns are.
- Address anxiety or concerns in a positive way. Help them feel like a “big kid”. Let them know that their worries are valid and talk about how they can work through them.
- Get them excited now! Discuss positive changes. Especially if they are getting nervous about going to 1st grade. Let them know about all the other positive things that will happen. Talk about what else will happen during the new school year such as, “When you are a first grader you’ll get to...( stay up a half hour later, play T-ball, take gymnastics class, get your own library card etc.).
- Find other kids that will be in their class and go on play dates. Having a familiar face in the classroom will help make the transition easier.
- Make contact with the teacher. Take some time before the start of school and send your new teacher an email introducing yourself and your child and letting them know any concerns you might have.
- Give them control over what they want to wear. Especially if they are nervous this little bit of independence can help them boost the confidence they need.
- Talk to other parents about how they handled the transition with their children. You might get some really great ideas from parents who have already gone through the same situation.