Kindergarten is an important step for young children – their first day of kid school. As exciting as this time maybe for some, many kindergarteners struggle initially with the long days, challenging curriculum and time spent away from loved ones. Let establish strong routines at home! Routines help children learn, make them feel safe and in control of their world, and foster their self-confidence and sense of belonging within the family. Some key family routines that will help child ready for kindergarten include:
Bedtime routines ensure kids get a good night’s sleep and will be ready for the next day’s adventures. Some important parts of a bedtime routine include a consistent bedtime and a predictable order of activities (e.g., take a bath, put on pajamas, brush teeth, read a favorite story or sing a favorite song, get a goodnight hug or kiss from their caregiver).
Parents are encouraged to read with their children for at least 20 minutes a day to build language and literacy skills. This reading routine can be part of the bedtime routine or at another time convenient for you and your child. A good way to make this time child-centered (and increase your child’s enjoyment and engagement in this time together) is by letting your child pick out the book.
Family Mealtime Routines
Having a family mealtime routine is not only an opportunity to teach your children about healthy eating habits but is also a chance to spend quality time talking with your children, which builds their language and strengthens their relationship with you. You can also build in routines around mealtime that will be useful to your children in school, such as washing your hands before dinner or teaching them how to clear dishes from the table.
Stay up to date with vaccinations
Take your child to the pediatrician for a checkup, and make sure all immunizations needed for kindergarten are up to date.
Tell your child what to expect
Talk to your children about what kindergarten will be like to help them start preparing for this significant development. Children often have lots of questions about kindergarten, particularly if they are starting at a new school.
Spend time talking with your children about what kindergarten will be like.
You can talk about what going to kindergarten was like for you as a way to model how your children can share feelings about kindergarten.
Once kindergarten begins, what are some conversation starters parents can use to get their child talking about school?
Ideally, talking with your child about the school should be part of your family’s daily routine. Talking with your children not only allows you to learn what they are doing in school and how they feel about school but also provides an opportunity for you to communicate that school is important.
But getting conversations started with your young children about kindergarten is not always easy, because some children provide very little detail in response to the question, “How was school today?”
So, here are a few other ways that you can get the conversation started with your children about school:
- Ask your children to tell you one new thing they did or learned about kindergarten on that day.
- Next, ask your children to tell you one thing they liked and one thing that was difficult about school that day.
- Then, ask your children about who they played within the school and what games they played.
- Also, you should create a family routine around talking about your day. For instance, during mealtime or another time when you are spending time with your children, you can model how to talk about your day by sharing one or two things that you did that day and then asking your children to share one or two things about their day.
You can read some experiences to help child ready for the first day of kindergarten here.