There are things that no one tells you about being a Kindergartener’s mom. From the time that your child is working on preschool skills until they enter that first year of ‘big school’, Kindergarten will be on your mind.
I was a teacher and have had two kids go through Kindergarten, so far, with two more kids headed there in the next few years and there are things that I wish I had known. First off, teaching is completely different than seeing it from the “mom side” of the classroom. With that being said, here are five things that I wish I would have known going into it.
1. You need to stay positive.
You need to be optimistic because your child will base his/her experience off of what you are presenting. You want to be encouraging and loving and supportive. This is hard for your child, but encourage him/her to make the best of it! Tell your child how much you love his/her teacher and classroom and friends. Find something great every day about their day or work and tell them about it.
2- Tell your child stories of when YOU went to Kindergarten.
Our kids love nothing more than when I lay with them and tell them stories of when I was in the grade that they are in at that moment. Our current Kindergartener loves to hear stories of me with Mrs. M., my Kindergarten teacher. He laughs when I say that she held me on her lap for story time every day or when I tell him that our scissors all had rubber handles that used to get very sticky.
3- Teach them a few non-academic skills before they go into school.
Social skills will be taught, along with academic skills, but if you can prepare them with self-help skills before hand, it will make it easier for everyone. Do they know how to ask for help? Can they wash their hands without help and without needing to be reminded?
4- Focus on the whole child to decide if they are ready.
It took a lot of back and forth for us to finally decide that our kids needed another year before entering Kindergarten and that was something that we had to decide. It is hard, but you will want to make this choice BEFORE your child enters second grade. At that time, holding a child back can cause more harm than good (thank you to my Child Development professor at Pitt for teaching me that one.)
5- Practice reading with your child before they go to Kindergarten and every night after.
Get into the habit of reading for 20 minutes a night and continue it every night. I can tell you that your child’s future teacher wants you to read with your child every night and ask questions after reading. It is important and it will make a difference.
Add some fun reading activities every day to help your child prepare for Kindergarten and make the most of this short year, Mom! It is going to fly by and before you know it, your child will be in first grade!