So much information out on the web talks about Kindergarten Readiness and the importance of critical features that support young learners. Not as much focus on us…the parents and how we cope, adjust and support the first year of K-12.
I am no expert-but I am a parent, and a practitioner. My first son went to Kindergarten all on his own. My second son had me as his Principal. I still remember both 1st days of K, and tearing up as they walked into school on their own. Transitioning to K can be a very emotional and momentous occasion for us as adults. Even though I was the Principal of my second’s son school my husband stated “Why are you crying-you get to go into school with Isaiah?”. So I get it…I think. And hope these tips help make the adjustment to kindergarten a little easier and make you more comfortable and confident in this new adventure.
- Start Routines..Now. Bedtime can be the biggest adjustment from summer to school-especially during the first few years of school. Start bedtime routines now and be consistent. Do you always read a story after bathroom routines? Do you have quiet time in their rooms to let them decompress after a fun filled day? Whatever your family’s routine is (examples here http://www.parenting.com/article/14-happy-bedtime-rituals) start practicing a few weeks before school starts to make it a habit.
- Make Mornings Positive. No matter what your circumstances are-mornings can be hectic. You think you have a plan and then a hiccup comes in the form of a bump in an established routine. The calmer you are the more you show your child that no matter what you care about them and want them to start their day in the best way possible.
- Meet-EVERYONE! Leading up to school take time to visit the playground, the building, the teachers and the Principal. Attend Back to School Events and Registration opportunities with your child so they can see how important they are to you and how excited you are for them in this new journey. At Woodson we share videos all summer via our blog: https://packersintraining.wordpress.com/category/ready-set-go/ that not only provide families ideas of summer learning activities-but give them a chance to ‘see’ all the different adults in our school well before the first bell rings.
- Establish Common Connections and Build Relationships. Even at this age or young learners have dreams and gifts that cultivate into BIG things as they learn and grow. Our kids really do want us to know more about their sparks, their struggles and what brings them joy-sometimes it is just a little bit harder to get that information out of them. The Search Institute published a framework of Developmental Relationships that follows the following key features:
- Express CARE Show that you like me and want the best for me.
- CHALLENGE Growth Insist that I try to continuously improve.
- Provide SUPPORT Help me complete tasks and achieve goals.
- Share POWER Hear my voice and let me share in making decisions.
- Expand POSSIBILITIES Expand my horizons and connect me to opportunities.
By using these five key actions families can build emotional and character strengths that support their child now and well into their future selves.
- Ask them more than “How was your day?”. Much talk and research has gone into Growth Mindsets-a fellow Elementary Principal recently posted the following questions that not only help to build that mindset but give you as a parent a better glimpse into your child’s life. http://www.twinkl.co.uk/resource/t-c-166-10-what-questions-to-develop-growth-mindset-in-children
Congrats! Your child is moving into the K-12 school setting-you have accomplished something big as a parent and their first teacher. By continuing to value their education and supporting their growth you will be raising an amazing young child that will have a strong foundational skills to last their entire life.
Keep Dreaming Big for our Littlest Learners!