Wednesday, August 10, 2016

How To Prevent Kindergarten Separation Anxiety

It's perfectly normal for a child, as well as their parents, to feel some form of anxiety during the transition from preschool to kindergarten. However, it has been shown that preschoolers have a smoother transition to kindergarten when their family, caregivers, and teachers take an active role in preparing them for this adjustment period. Here are 5 tips that will help ease this transition period for both you and your child!

1. Meet the teacher: Taking time to meet your child's teacher will help ease both parents' and kids' nerves before the first day of school. Many schools have a back to school night that will give your new kindergartner the opportunity to visit their classroom and meet their teacher! Introduce yourself and your child to their teacher and let them know you are excited that your child will be working with them this year! Hello Teacher Notes are also a great way to help the teacher get to know your child better before school begins and can help your child feel more connected with their teacher heading into the school year.

2. Give them free time: As the beginning of the school year draws near, parents may feel the need to spend as much time as possible with their child before they venture off to school. However, this is a crucial time to ensure that your child is developing their own independence. Set aside time each day for free time where your child can learn and play independently. Kindergarten is a big step and kids need to know that their parents have confidence in their success!

3. Memorizing their personal information: Children should know their personal information (full name, phone number, and address) before starting kindergarten. How else are they supposed to know that they are Travis J and not Travis O? Although this may seem tedious, there are tons of fun ways to teach kids this information. Try a  Me on the Map activity to teach your child where they live or a Song for them to easily learn their phone number!

4. Hanging out with friends: It is helpful for kids to have at least one familiar face when they go to school. As the school year draws near, set up play dates with other kids that will be starting kindergarten. At some schools, you may be able to see who will be in your child's class.  Try to set up times for your child to get to know those who will be in their class! This will not only help your child feel welcome and comfortable when they walk into their classroom, but knowing that your child already has friends will also ease your anxiety as a parent!

5. Eating lunch out of their lunch box: Many kids do this at preschool before they hit the kindergarten transition. However, packing your child's lunchbox, as you would when they go to school, and having a picnic away from home can help ease their anxiety at lunchtime. Doing this can also show your child how fun it is to have lunch with friends away from home and get them excited for school!

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