With the new school year right around the corner, there are many parents getting ready to send their little ones to school for the very first time.
To help make that big step easier, I hit up my social media friends and gathered words of wisdom from the trenches: from educators, parents and educator/parents…including some faces you just may recognize! (Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments section!)
Michele Harrison (mom and Early Childhood Educator)
“Create an environment at home that is conducive to oral language development. Children benefit from being able to take part in a conversation, ask and answer questions, share personal stories and retell stories.”
Corrie Bell (mom and teacher)
“My biggest thing was realizing that my little one was more ready than I imagined. The amazing Kindergarten teachers “take it away” and really smoothed all my fears. Have faith in your little one, they will (most likely) exceed your expectations and are in good hands!”
Tracy Moore (mom and host of Cityline)
The fall line of Tracy Moore Designed by Freda’s launches on The Shopping Channel on September 10th. Find them on Instagram @tracymoorexfredas!
“We had two different types of kindergarten kids. The eldest walked in shy and reluctant while the little one said, ‘Later!’ and immediately made 7 friends.
“It’s just kindergarten, not university!” If the classroom isn’t perfect or the teacher is new, it’s OK! #1stworldproblems
— Lisa @fabfrugalmama (@fabfrugalmama) August 11, 2016
Cheryl Hickey (mom and host of ET Canada, also founder of natural, family-safe product company Ours by Cheryl Hickey)
“Well, truth: I am really not looking forward to my daughter starting preschool! So selfish, I know. This means I have to accept she is growing up. That said, this is not about me!
So for her, we will read some books about first days of school to get her excited. I went and got her her first big girl backpack, just like her brother’s but in her favourite colour. Then before the school year ended I took her for a play date at the preschool so she will have a good memory of the place on the day. Other than that I will be like every other parent choking back tears…and maybe a G and T that evening!”
Michelle Green (mom and teacher)
“1. Encourage your child’s independence by letting him carry his own school bag and enter the school/yard/classroom on his own, etc. Make him feel proud to be so big and grown up!
2. Send an extra set of clothes for the classroom if the teachers ask for one, no matter how neat and tidy your child is – and keep another set in his/her backpack if there’s room (but make sure he/his teachers know it’s there). And be sure to replace items as they get used!
3. Talk with your child about asking for help when he needs it. That’s what teachers are for!
4. Don’t expect your child to come home and tell you everything about his day, or to be able to answer a big open-ended question like “What did you do today?”. Instead work on some specific, easy-to-answer questions to get a discussion going and break his day into smaller chunks, and be sure to model for your child by telling him a little about your own day.
4. Label everything!!”
“In Kindergarten it’s many children’s first time fending for themselves, so we focused on assertiveness. We asked our kids to tell us ways they can be kind and helpful to the teacher and to kids who are struggling and what to do if other kids are being mean or bossy – we actually role played bullying them to prepare our kids to react in the situation, even giving them a shove and grabbing things out of their hands. It was hilarious and we all ended up laughing but it did come in handy for them as every class has a few out of control kids. Our teachers described our kids as being very helpful in class, and that was a big source of pride for me.”
“Independence skills are valuable as they help the child build confidence in their own abilities. Examples: opening lunch food containers and baggies, wrappers etc., putting on footwear and coats, washing hands (using soap and paper towel). Also social knowledge: listening, following directions, using manners, treating others with kindness, sharing, taking turns, etc.”
Monica Lacy (mom and actress)
Monica will next be seen starring as a lead in the upcoming Amazon series “The Kicks”, as quirky, idealistic soccer mom Sharon Burke – Watch Episode 1 for free on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Kicks-Season-1/dp/B00Z89OR0W)
For even more ideas, check out this great article written by a mom and Registered Early Childhood Educator:
10 Things I Wish I Knew Before My Child Started Full-Day Kindergarten
If there’s anything we’ve missed here that you think could help new kindergarten parents, please leave a comment below!
(P.S. My apologies for the gender imbalance in this post, but no dads replied to me!)