by Tess Ross-Callahan, Education & Research Intern, Jumpstart
Chester Raccoon does not want to go to school. “I want to stay home with you,” he tells his mother in Audrey Penn’s picture book, The Kissing Hand.
Like Chester Raccoon, your child may have mixed feelings about starting kindergarten. To help get your family ready for the first day of school, , we’ve compiled 5 tips for a successful start to kindergarten.
- Create a goodbye routine. In The Kissing Hand, Mrs. Raccoon kisses the center of Chester’s paw as they say goodbye. Try creating your own goodbye routine as your child heads off to kindergarten! It can be as simple as putting your shoes on together or keeping a special note in your child’s backpack. As you say goodbye, remind him that you will be back together soon to hear about all of his new and exciting adventures!
- Make an “All About Me” book. One of the most exciting things about kindergarten is the opportunity for your child to build a relationship with her teacher. Help your child introduce herself by creating their very own “All About Me” book that you, your child, and your child’s teacher can look at together. To make the book, staple together several pieces of paper and have your child color and decorate. You can glue in family photos, write about your favorite things to do together, draw pictures of your child’s favorite foods, map out her favorite places to visit, and more!
- Talk About It. Research tells us that a kindergartener’s ability to talk about their thoughts and feelings can predict their social and academic achievement up to four years later. Start practicing by encouraging your child to talk about his feelings during everyday situations. For example, imagine your child has gotten dressed without help. Comment on his accomplishment and ask about how he feels. “It makes me really happy to see that you are able to do that! How do you feel having gotten dressed all by yourself?” The more you encourage your child to express himself at home, the easier it will be for him to do the same at school.
- Find time to catch up. On the way home, while cooking dinner, before bed… whenever works best for your family, establish a consistent time of day when you and your child trade stories about the day. You can ask what your kindergartener learned, about friends she’s making, and what she’s excited about doing tomorrow. Make sure to also talk about your day – back-and-forth conversations are great for staying connected while developing children’s brains!
- Read about it! Books can be a great tool to spark conversations about new experiences. Try reading Wemberly Worried by Kevin Hankes to help your child prepare for his first day, and discuss what Wemberly learns about school!
On behalf of the Jumpstart family, we wish you and your child a wonderful start to kindergarten! Chester Raccoon, too, sends his promise that you’re going to love school… just like he did.