Sending Your Baby To Kindergarten | Community Spirit
The school bell will ring soon and many parents will send a child to kindergarten. This is always an emotional time for parents. For some, it will be sending your first born and for others it will be sending the youngest of four. Kindergarten is an important milestone in your child’s life. Your child’s maturity will grow tremendously this year and you’ll get to see a small glimpse of how your hard work over the past 5 years has shaped your child. It wasn’t that long ago that you held your precious baby in your arms for the first time. Where did the time go? Now it’s time to send that little baby off to kindergarten. For most this will be the first full school day, the first year to ride the school bus, the first year to have homework, and the first year when peer influences begin to play a role.
Before beginning Act Together, I worked as a school teacher. I taught kindergarten for 5 years, as well as a year of first grade and a year of second. The formative primary years of school are my passion. I love watching those little ones blossom and grow as God’s plan for their lives begins unfolding.
What Tips Do I Have For Kindergarten Parents?
First of all, I’ll assure you that your child will do fine. 90-95% of the time, the parent has a much harder time than the child. Kindergarten teachers are good people and they will take care of your baby. Be strong for your child. If he/she senses that you are upset it will make the transition harder for them. So hold back the tears until after the bell rings or after the school bus drives away. Then allow yourself to be emotional. Use this moment as a reminder for how quickly time passes and treasure every moment you have with your children. Take pictures, write letters to your children that they can read after you are long gone, pray and thank God for allowing you to be the parent of your precious child.
Establish healthy routines and patterns during kindergarten. You will lay the foundation for your child’s educational career over the next few years.
- Help your child to realize that school is your child’s “job”. School is very important and should be taken seriously.
- Develop bedtime routines that involve picking an outfit for the following school day, laying out socks and underwear so that the morning runs smoothly.
- Establish a bedtime and a wake up time. Keep this consistent on school nights. A kindergarten child should get 10-12 hours of sleep each night.
- Consider using a chart to remind your child of the morning routine. Include: Get dressed (don’t forget the shoes!), make bed (kindergarteners can begin having basic chores around the house), brush hair and teeth, eat a healthy breakfast, and get in the car/ to the bus stop by _____. Children actually like having some responsibilities and they will respond better to having a chart to check off than to being nagged.
- Establish an after school routine. Teach your child where to put their school bag after school and where to put their folder and other important information for mom. Establishing these habits will prevent chaos during the mornings.
- Begin to teach homework habits. While most kindergarteners will not have a lot of homework, it’s still important to have an area where your child can work on his/her “homework.” This might be a table in the living room or a desk in their bedroom. Make “homework” fun and use that word when referring to flashcards or other school projects. Kindergarten children are usually excited about having homework like the big kids.
- Don’t overwhelm or stress your child. If your child struggles academically keep in mind that children develop at their own pace. Putting unnecessary pressure on them may cause them to dislike school and that is more harmful in the long run.
- Keep your child’s schedule light. I can’t emphasize this enough. The trend right now seems to be to enroll children in every possible event, sport and extracurricular activity. For most, this will be your child’s first experience in full day school and that is enough change for most 5 year olds. The sports and other activities can wait. Your child will benefit more from being with their family during the evenings than running around from activity to activity while eating in the back of a minivan. Children need down time and it’s important that we always leave marginal time in our schedules so that we are available to take a meal to our next door neighbor when they are sick. The value your child will get from watching you serve others is greater than anything he or she will learn from an organized activity. This is my personal opinion, of course.
- Support the teacher for your child’s sake. Even if your child has with the worst imaginable teacher, you as the parent need to support whatever the teacher says (at least in front of your child.) In doing this you are teaching your child to respect authority and respect the position, even if you do not like the person. This is an important life lesson we all need.
- Treat your child’s teacher well. Remember that the teacher will have your child for more waking hours in the day than you do.
Book Recommendations: If your child is a little anxious about the first day, you might want to read him/her some of these stories.
- The Kissing Hand
- Kindergarten Here I Come!
- Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns To Listen
- The Night Before Kindergarten
- Froggy Goes To School
- Mrs. Bindergarten Gets Ready For Kindergarten
Have fun this year! It really is a special year that you and your child will always remember.
I leave you with this poem.
I Trust You’ll Treat Her Well
I bequeath to you today one little girl… in a crispy dress… with two
blue eyes… and a happy laugh that ripples all day long… and a flash of
light blond hair that bounces in the sun when she runs. I trust you’ll
treat her well.
She’s slipping out of the backyard of my heart this morning…and skipping
off down the street to her first day of school. And never again will she be
completely mine. Prim and proud she’ll wave her young and independent hand
this morning and say "Goodbye" and walk with little lady steps to the
Now she’ll learn to stand in lines… and wait by the alphabet for her name
to be called. She’ll learn to tune her ears for the sounds of
school-bells… and deadlines… and she’ll learn to giggle… and gossip…
and look at the ceiling in a disinterested way when the little boy ‘cross
the aisle sticks out his tongue at her. And, now she’ll learn to be
jealous. And now she’ll learn how it is to feel hurt inside. And now
she’ll learn how not to cry.
No longer will she have time to sit on the front porch steps on a summer day
and watch an ant scurry across the crack in the sidewalk. Nor will she have
time to pop out of bed with the dawn and kiss lilac blooms in the morning
dew. No, now she’ll worry about those important things… like grades and
which dress to wear and whose best friend is whose. And the magic of books
and learning will replace the magic of her blocks and dolls. And now she’ll
find new heroes.
For five full years now I’ve been her sage and Santa Claus and pal and
playmate and father and friend. Now she’ll learn to share her worship with
her teachers… which is only right.
But, no longer will I be the smartest, greatest man in the whole world.
Today when that school bell rings for the first time… she’ll learn what it
means to be a member of the group… with all its privileges and its
She’ll learn in time that proper young ladies do not laugh out loud… or
kiss dogs… or keep frogs in pickle jars in bedrooms… or even watch ants
scurry across cracks in sidewalks in the summer.
Today she’ll learn for the first time that all who smile at her are not her
friends. And I’ll stand on the front porch and watch her start out on the
long, lonely journey to becoming a woman.
So, world, I bequeath to you today one little girl… in a crispy dress…
with two blue eyes… and a flash of light blond hair that bounces in the
sunlight when she runs.
I trust you’ll treat her well.