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Tips for Parents and Kids Starting Kindergarten

Tips for Parents and Kids Starting Kindergarten

The first day of kindergarten is a huge milestone for you and your child. Transitioning from early childhood education can feel daunting and exciting. Your child might be nervous about new environments, people, and rules. As a parent, you might be worried about whether your child is ready for ‘big school’. 

Your child starting kindergarten means the whole family adapts to new routines. This guide provides tips for starting kindergarten, including how to help kindergarteners with anxiety. 

Have Open Conversations

Preparation in the lead-up to the 1st day at kindergarten is crucial. Talking to your child about what they can expect helps them understand change and feel ready to start kindergarten. Consider their point of view; they might feel anxious, shy, or excited. It’s important to acknowledge and validate their perspective. 

Focusing on the positive aspects of starting school when you talk to your child will help boost their confidence. There are plenty of great books from the library you could read together. Read the e-book *Daisy’s First Day* with your child. You could also familiarise them with their new school by driving past it.

Planning the Exit (And Avoiding Teary Goodbyes)

Being dropped off at school on the first day of kindergarten can be challenging for children. Establishing a goodbye routine with your child will go a long way to avoiding teary goodbyes and ensuring efficient drop-offs. Here is information about the benefits of dealing with school drop-off appropriately:

  • Talk to your child before the first day about who will drop them off and pick them up. Consistency helps ease their anxiety about their first day. Stay to help your child settle if needed, but discuss this with the kindergarten teacher beforehand.
    • If you’re struggling to leave, ask the teacher for help. They’re experienced in handling first-day jitters.
  • Always say goodbye to your child. Leaving without a proper farewell can cause distress and mistrust.

Setting clear routines is crucial to making your child’s transition to kindergarten smooth and stress-free.

Setting Clear Routines

Preparing new routines will help your family adjust to your child’s new kindergarten schedule. Here are tips for getting ready for kindergarten:

Before Kinder Starts

  • Support your child’s independence. Ideally, your child can use the bathroom, handwash, and dress themselves. 
  • Put their names on the clothes or property they’ll take to kindergarten. It helps if your child can read their name and bring their belongings home!

The Night Before Kinder 

  • Lay out your child’s uniform, socks, and shoes. 
  • Prep school food and pop it in the fridge. Pack food that’s easy to eat and not too messy.
  • Get your child to help pack their bag. It’s helpful to include a spare change of clothes (including underwear and socks) in case they have a toilet accident at school. 

Morning Routine for Kindergarten Days

  • Have a picture chart displayed in the house with the steps for getting ready in the morning.
  • A healthy breakfast can help your child concentrate and regulate their mood at school. 
  • Encourage them to dress themselves and wear their hat to school.
  • Don’t forget sunscreen!

Kinder Pick-Up 

  • Be on time to pick them up. 
    • In the first few weeks, the teacher will likely wait with the class at a central spot until all children are picked up. Confirm the location with their teacher.
    • If you’re running late – notify the teacher.
  • Use the school pick-up as an opportunity to ask them how kindergarten went — what happened during the day? How do they feel?

Additionally, keeping your kindergartener’s home routines, such as bath time, meals, and playtime, as consistent as possible helps them stay regulated during the school term.

What Time Should Kindergarteners Go to Bed? 

Kids can get tired after full days at kindergarten because they’re doing many new things. It helps to practice sticking to a regular bedtime and wake-up schedule in the weeks leading up to their kindergarten term. This will reduce the chance of your child coming home cranky after school. 

At this age kids need 10-12 hours sleep. If your child needs to wake up for school at 7 am, they should be in bed between 7 pm and 9 pm. It helps to reduce screen time in the evening and read them a story in bed half an hour before sleep time.

Celebrate the First Day!

Another one of our biggest tips for starting kindergarten is to find fun ways to celebrate to help your child feel excited. Mark the first day of school in a special way that works for your family – perhaps etch their height on a wall at home or treat them to a special breakfast. Remember to take photos!

Check in with them after their first day. Ask questions like, ‘What was the best part of your day?’ and ‘What did you learn?’. Communicating with relaxed body language and facial expressions can help your child feel more willing to share.

Preparing Parents and Guardians

The first day is an emotional day for you and your child. Connecting with other parents who have been through the same experience can help you feel understood and supported during this transition. 

Ask the school if parent groups are on social media or how to get involved in school life through a Parent & Citizens (P&C) organisation. The school website will provide helpful resources regarding enrolment and key term dates. 

If you have questions or concerns about your child starting kinder, contact the school office before term starts. Once your child starts kinder, the teacher is the best person to talk to about your child’s progress.

Take a Tour with the Green Elephant

Green Elephant is passionate about assisting children’s readiness for school. We provide safe environments where your child can make friends, learn social skills like sharing, and develop their independence.

A Transition to School Statement provides a snapshot of your child’s interests, strengths, and learning preferences. Our early learning centres provide this statement, which you can give to your child’s school before they start. 

Take a tour of one of our centres to learn more about the enrichment opportunities available at the early childhood education stage.