Starting kindergarten is an exciting milestone for you and your child! The first day of kindergarten marks your child’s transition to formal schooling, setting the stage for the next 13 years of their education.
While there’s a lot to look forward to about starting kindergarten, it can also be quite nerve-wracking for both parents and kids. Learn how to prepare your child for kindergarten with these simple tips.
Leading up to the first day of kindergarten
Visit your child’s new school
Your child will feel much more comfortable on their first day if they are already familiar with the general layout of the school. Maybe your child already visited the school when you first took a tour—if so, great! If not, call the school and ask if you could come by and visit before the new school year begins.
Meet other families attending the same school
Many schools host events over the summer that are tailored to incoming families. Events like these are a great time for your child to meet teachers, staff, and fellow students.
You can also ask around and see if you have any neighbors or mutual friends whose children are attending your kindergartner’s new school. Making these early connections before the start of the school year can ease your child’s nerves as they go into their first day.
Read books about starting school
In the weeks or months leading up to the first day of school, visit your local library and check out a few picture books about starting school. Books can be a great way to start a conversation with your little one about what kindergarten will be like. (Bonus: Reading to your child can help them learn new vocabulary and work on their phonics before kindergarten starts!)
Looking for recommendations? Check out this list of books about starting kindergarten.
Phase out nap time
Many schools, including BASIS Charter Schools, do not have nap time for kindergartners. If your little one is used to napping during the day, start slowly phasing this out before they start kindergarten.
Teach your child about responsibility
Going to kindergarten will require a level of independence that your child may not be used to. You can prepare your child for this transition by slowly giving them more responsibilities in their daily life—for example, by giving them simple chores around the house.
Practice your morning routine
Preparing for kindergarten involves practicing what your day-to-day routine will look like. Before the first day of school, talk to your child about what they will need to do in the mornings to get ready. You can practice morning tasks like getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, and heading out the door at a certain time.
Brush up on basic skills
In kindergarten, your child will be expected to do basic self-care tasks on their own. For example, they should know how to use the bathroom independently, how to wash their hands, how to zip their coat, and how to put on their shoes. If there are any self-care tasks your child struggles with, now is a great time to practice.
You may also want to practice some academic and social skills. Academic skills include things like counting from 1–10, recognizing different letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make, and writing their name. Social skills include sharing, taking turns, and listening quietly while someone is speaking. Many of these skills will come naturally to your child as they progress through kindergarten, but it doesn’t hurt to get a headstart!
On the first day of kindergarten
Have a plan
To avoid any last-minute hiccups, make sure you have a plan in place for the first day of school. Do you know where you will be dropping off and picking up your child? What time will you need to arrive at the school? Are you able to walk your child to their classroom? If you have any questions about school policies or procedures, now’s the time to call and ask!
Start your morning with a healthy breakfast
Eating a healthy and filling breakfast will help your child stay alert during the day and keep them from getting hungry before snack time. This is important every day, but especially for the first day of school! Check out this list of back-to-school breakfast ideas if you need inspiration.
Give yourself plenty of time
The last thing you want is to be rushing on your child’s first day of school. Try to leave the house a little earlier than you need to so you can make sure you arrive on time. Continue giving yourself some extra buffer time for the first few days, until your morning routine starts to feel natural to both you and your child.
Keep your goodbye short and sweet
While it might be tempting to give your child a heartfelt, drawn-out goodbye on their first day of kindergarten, it’s better to keep your goodbye short and cheerful. Tell your child that you’re excited for their big day and that you’ll be back to pick them up in the afternoon. If you linger for too long, it might increase your child’s separation anxiety when you do have to leave.
At BASIS Charter Schools, we are dedicated to creating a positive and supportive learning environment for our kindergartners. To ensure each student’s needs are met, we follow a co-teaching model with two teachers in each classroom. Students engage in hands-on, dynamic lessons that encourage them to develop a lifelong love of learning. For a closer look at what your child might experience as a kindergartner at one of our schools, check out our article, “A Day in the Life of a BASIS Charter School Kindergartner.”