The transition from kindergarten to the first year of elementary school in the eyes of your six-year old represents a major shift in his or her daily activities. Gone are the days of nap time and half-day class sessions, and in their place are much more rigorous academic demands. But it is also a time where a child learns some of the most important (and rewarding) skills that will serve him/her for the rest of his/her life, and have a whole lot of fun too!
Below are some tips that will help to ensure that your child will adjust to his/her new schedule and responsibilities quickly and smoothly:
- Start the conversation before the first day. It is important to explain the differences between kindergarten and first grade to your child so she is prepared to meet the different expectations. Talk to her about the longer day, but do so enthusiastically and let her know about all the fun new experiences she will have, like reading a whole book on her own and playing in gym class. Another way to get your student excited about the school year is to take her to the store and let her pick out her own school supplies.
- Let your child know the teacher is a friend. One of the biggest fears many children entering first grade have is being away from a parent or other caretaker for such a long time. Let him know that the teacher is there to help him and it is ok to ask the teacher questions or tell the teacher how he feels. First grade teachers are experts when it comes to calming a homesick student!
- Keep the conversation going. It is especially important during the first year of elementary school to inquire about your child’s school day. Inquire about her favorite subjects, what she talked about with her friends at lunch, and what parts of her day she did not like as much. Moving to the first grade is a big transition for your young academic, so be sensitive and try to help her solve any problems she may run into.