What can I do to support my child during their Kindergarten year?
Routines! Routines! Routines! Have routines and stick to them as much as possible. Of course you will have nights when you can’t avoid a change in the routine for whatever reason, but do your best to keep your child’s schedule consistent and predictable. Try your best to have an early bedtime. Tape a favorite TV show if you must, but the more sleep your child receives the better they will be able to focus on learning, having fun and just being a kid.
Remember the seemingly little things. Little things can be very BIG things to five and six year olds. Help your child remember their library book on their assigned day. Better yet, once you’ve read it as a family put it back in his backpack. This way you never have to worry about forgetting that it’s “Library Day” and can avoid the wrath of your child as they come home with their hand on their hip because they weren’t allowed to check out a book. Also be sure to read every bit of communication that comes home from your child’s teacher and school. This way you’ll remember things the teacher asks for like the shoebox for a Valentine’s Day mailbox or money for a school t-shirt. Believe me, you’ll hear about it from your child if you forget, but it’s much easier to mark it on your calendar and get it taken care of on time. Your child will appreciate it!
Attend parties and special events if possible. These are big deals to a small child. Make every effort possible to attend, even if you can’t stay the entire time. Yes, your child will have to learn how to deal with disappointment in life but try to make it something like not making the football team or having to miss a campout because of Grandma’s birthday party. If you are absolutely unable to attend, find a representative who can come in your place or have a frank conversation with your child explaining why you can’t come to this event.
Help your child gain independence. Independence is the name of the game in Kindergarten, so it’s important that you try to foster this in your child. Consider only walking them to class for a short time and then seeing if they can do it on their own. If they’re not comfortable with this, try taking baby steps. Walk them to their hallway, then the front of the school and finally drop them off outside. If you do decide that walking them to class is best for your child, allow them to hang up their backpack and complete any morning routines that the teacher has by themselves.
Good breakfast. Make sure they eat a healthy breakfast and one that will stick with them until lunch. If you feel rushed in the morning and don’t feel you have time for more than a Pop Tart, check with the cafeteria. Many schools now provide breakfast. Of course, a healthy lunch and snacks go along with this. Tip: If your child does buy breakfast and/or lunch at the cafeteria be sure to check their account balance often. It’s not unusual for your child to be served a sandwich if their account goes into the negative. Many school’s have an option to add money to your child’s account online. Check with your child’s cafeteria service to find out their policies.
As always, Read! At the risk of sounding like a broken record, read to your child. Really this is simply one of the best things you can do for him now that will have positive results his whole life long.