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Sunday, August 30, 2015

preparing for Kindergarten : ideas that work

I've been asking moms in the Facebook group questions about preparing your child for Kindergarten. They have great ideas! See below for specific topics on how to prepare your child for the Big K!

School Supplies
Most schools will send out a letter in the mail or post to their Web site some time in August what your child will need for school supplies. Some schools PTO/A offer you a bundle that you can purchase and they pick everything up for you, it's waiting on your child's desk when s/he arrives to school in the fall. It's best to wait to hear from your school to find out what your Kindergartener needs. A few items could include crayons, tissues, glue sticks, paint, etc. 

Backpacks for Kindergarteners
These are a few real moms love:
  • LL Bean
  • Leave a change of clothes at school.
  • Have a bag big enough for library books, winter gear, lunchbox, folders, etc.
  • Wildkins
Dropping Nap Time
Most Kindergartens are full day now and they include rest times, some even offer nap times. My son's school doesn't do naps but offers a rest time later in the afternoon. My son (bless him!) still napped this summer heading into Kindergarten. I asked moms in the discussion Facebook Mommy Stories group what they did with children who napped that summer before Kindergarten. 

Here are some tips from real moms:
  • Start calling nap time "rest time" and allow them to read books, stay in bedroom.
  • Shorten the "nap time" and consider it rest time but for half the time they used to nap.
  • Make bed time earlier in the fall because they are so exhausted. 
  • A lot of kids fall asleep on the bus or car ride home after Kindergarten. 
  • Nap at home when kids come home from Kindergarten.
  • All summer long starting in June decrease nap time or drop a day of nap time a week until the end of summer nap is done.
  • Remember that the teachers understand the kids used to nap and aren't used to being awake all day, they are mindful of this and work with children.
  • Just expect them to be crabby at night, needing earlier bed times, and it might last through November. 

Preparing Kiddo for Kindergarten
All the things that kids need to know before being successful in school:
  • How to wipe bottom after going #2.
  • How to pump legs on the swing to get the swing going by himself without having an adult push him (there won't be enough staff to push every child on the playground!).
  • Alphabet - using workbooks and flash cards, chalkboards and white boards to write letters is helpful. Finding letters in the world - stop signs, grocery store, etc. 
  • Counting at least to 10 out loud and recognizing numbers.
  • Writing own name.
  • Talk about it ahead of time, so they know what to expect. Visit the school, play on the playground, meet teachers, tour a bus if you can. 
  • Knowing address, birthday, parents' names, where he lives, etc. 
  • Taking turns, sharing, waiting a turn, being patient, asking for help, helping others, making friends, apologizing, etc. - social skills. 
  • Getting dressed - snow pants, jackets, shoes, socks, etc. by themselves. 
What can a mom of a Kindergartener expect?
Thank you to the moms in the Facebook discussion group who responded!
  • Reading 20 minutes nightly to kids.
  • Frustration- kids are learning so many new things, it's hard.
  • Exhaustion- some barely make it through dinner the first few weeks.
  • More birthday party invites - and you don't have to say yes to all of them!
  • It's normal if it takes until Thanksgiving for kids to adjust to Kindergarten.
  • "Be patient and gentle with these normal emotions" of children falling apart after school at home.
  • Don't sign up for tons of after school commitments, appointments, extracurriculars. Kindergarten is exhausting. They need a break after school. 
  • "Brace yourself for tons of questions," as your child will learn tons of great things and some not so great things (teasing, swears, etc.). 
  • Very dirty kid- it's messy in Kindergarten!
  • Friend issues start early - be prepared for your child to not like a kid or not feel liked.
  • LABEL everything, otherwise it gets left behind and lost!
  • Child may not want to go to school one day, may not want to leave other days. All normal.

Lunch Ideas
  • Food that gives them energy to concentrate and focus. 
  • Snacks for snack time.
  • Homemade lunchables - crackers, cheese, meat, etc. are fun!
  • Something easy they can open themselves!
  • Send a lot - they eat tons! And they share with buddies sometimes, too.
  • put yogurt and other things like sandwiches in the freezer and they will thaw out during the day
  • Check out the 100 Days of Real Food blog on Facebook, she posts pictures of her kids' lunch ideas 
  • Lots of ideas on Pinterest 
Traditions for the First Day of School
  • take a picture in the morning
  • ice cream cones after school 
  • take a picture near their easel with written on it - name, age, teacher's name, grade, favorite things, and what they want to be when they grow up- it's fun to look back! 
A few great articles:
Good luck in preparing your little one!

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