Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten

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Time is a thief. I will soon have a kindergartner.

Certainly, I am not the only mother who feels as if they just settled their sleepy newborn in a crib but looks over at a (now) 5-year-old.

I still think of these years that have seem to have flown by in bewilderment. Now, as my son begins a new childhood chapter I find myself overflowing with excitement and joy. As parents, we have the perfect vantage point of seeing life through our children’s eyes again- through the wonderment of starting school.

This next chapter comes with new responsibilities for both our new students and us as parents.

It is our responsibility to prepare our children for life. As our little learners embark on the world as students, it is critical that we prepare their hearts for what they will experience.

Their hard-working teachers will work to grow their minds and present important information not yet learned. Beyond the learning desk, we can speak to our children about our roles as good humans as well as good students.

It is our responsibility to encourage inclusiveness, kindness, bravery, and positivity.

It is not lost on me on the feat of explaining how to be an upstanding young person, but I started with these three ideas to help my child welcome this new chapter with an open heart and an open mind.

Be an Includer

Before leaving for preschool in the mornings, I encourage my son to “be a good friend.” This sounds simple, but the role of a friend is so important in life. It goes beyond “playing nicely” or sharing. My husband and I often talk to our boys about their friends at school and encourage the idea of playing with all of their classmates. We give these examples to help them understand:

-If they see a friend playing alone, go up and ask if they can play too.

-Welcome new kids into their groups.

As adults, we know how it feels to be excluded or feel like you don’t belong, but for children, this profound feeling is heavy.

Encourage your child to be an includer, and that being a good friend is one of the most valuable titles in life.

Emily Ley has a wonderful podcast on this topic too. I encourage you to listen to this episode with your kids and then have some important conversations about how to include others.

preparing your child for kindergarten
Include everyone. You’ll be a superhero!

Choose to Be Kind

Our children are entering a world much different than the one we grew up in. We must encourage their hearts and minds to always be open. In our home, we talk often about choosing kind words, giving compliments and speaking with encouragement. If you spread words of praise, your child is listening.

Let us lead by example. Your children are watching, so let them see your goodness.

Try this to encourage growing their character:

-Fill someone’s bucket: give someone a compliment or say thank you. Example: “Thank you for helping me across the monkey bars.”

-Ask about someone. Example: “How was your weekend?”

Be Brave

Beginning school is more than just learning, it is an entirely new place with new faces, new smells, and new experiences. To a child, this is a huge event in life. As adults, we know the fear or angst that can come with starting a new job or moving to a new town. Let’s try to shed that fear for them and speak to our children about the fun NEW things they will experience.

Praise them when they try something new or act bravely as this will increase their confidence.

Try these ways to help with the transition:

-Independence; be a problem solver. “That was a GREAT way to do that on your own.”

-Courageous; try something new- “That was so brave of you to try that. How fun was that?!”

preparing your child for kindergarten
Encourage their dreams and the possibilities! Today he wants to be a coffee maker in the future, but tomorrow.. what will he want to be!?

As a teacher, I can tell you that the importance of how families support their little learners in school early on is crucial. School can be challenging, but if we are able to paint these challenges in a positive light, it can remove the fear and let the excitement in.

Good luck to all of the new students embarking on their academic journey!

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A Pensacola native, Miranda enjoys raising her two young sons in her hometown with her husband, Paul. She graduated with a degree in Exercise Science from the University of West Florida, which ignited a passion for adopting a lifestyle around health and wellness. With a large extended family stretching from New England, Colorado, and California, Miranda has loved to travel and crisscross the country visiting and exploring new cities with her family. When Miranda is not playing with her sons- Cohen (5) and Miller (3), she is finding a new home project to start, researching a new recipe, enjoying quality time with friends and family, or finally sitting down watching The Office with her husband and a nice glass of Pinot. She is excited to combine her love of all things Pensacola, the adventures of motherhood/sisterhood of mothers, and writing with Pensacola Mom Collective!

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