Moving from preschool to a Pre-Kindergarten or Kindergarten class is a big deal, and chances are that you are as worried about it as much (or more) as your little one is. It is understandable that some children may become clingier in the days leading up to the new classroom or for the first few weeks while they are settling into this new experience. It’s important that you demonstrate patience and love during this time as well as positivity and excitement. If you are outwardly appearing sad or worried, your child will most likely take their emotional cue from you and react in the same manner.
See our tips below to help your child make a smooth transition to their new learning environment.
Getting ready for Pre-K or Kindergarten
- Be sure to attend open houses, visitors’ days, or family socials scheduled for your child’s new class.
- Select a variety of interesting books that emphasize the fun and new experiences children have at Pre-K to read aloud to your child in the weeks prior to their first day.
- Share stories of when you or your child’s siblings were in Pre-K.
- Talk to your child about what their day at Pre-K will be like. (Be sure to ask ahead for a schedule so you can tell your child about all of the activities.)
- Have your child start their new bedtime and wake-up routine a week or two before school begins so that they can get used to the change and you have time to adjust as needed.
- Let your child help choose a new backpack and their first-day-of-school clothes.
- Listen to your child when they talk about Pre-K. Do they seem happy or scared? If your child regresses in their potty training or shows aggression or separation anxiety, it’s okay. It’s only temporary. Listen to their worries and be understanding.
- Find a time to play “First Day at Pre-K” with your child and their babies. Act out how you hope their first day will be, including kissing mommy or daddy goodbye and then playing with their new friends.
- Make sure that you fill out all necessary forms including any medical concerns or food allergies, emergency contacts, and information about your child.
When the BIG DAY arrives
- Wake up early enough so that your child isn’t rushed in getting dressed or eating breakfast.
- Share breakfast with your child and use the time to talk about what they should expect (how you will drop them off, what will happen next, if they will take a nap, and who will pick them up).
- Keep your morning conversation positive and exciting.
- Help your child feel more comfortable by letting them take a special stuffed animal, blanket, or family photo with them to school.
- Don’t leave your child at school without saying goodbye. Plan to only stay for 15 or 20 minutes. That should be long enough to explore the classroom and make your child comfortable.
- Making the Move to Kindergarten
- Planning Counts: Good Planning… Great Child Care Experience
- NAEYC: 11 Ways to Help Children Say Goodbye
- LiveStrong: What Should a Child Know Before Starting Pre-K?
- Zero to Three: Preschool Prep
Choosing child care is one of the most important decisions a family will make. You can begin your search by calling CCRI’s Child Care Search at 704.348.2181 or by visiting www.findchildcarenc.com to let trusted experts help you.