Great Tips To Get Your Kindergartner Off To A Great Start

We went to the experts — parents — for the best ideas to help your kindergartner's first day of school be awesome!

Make the first day of kindergarten fun, even if it rains! Credit: Elissa Bass
Make the first day of kindergarten fun, even if it rains! Credit: Elissa Bass
We asked our friends on the Ledyard Patch Facebook page to share their best advice for parents who sending their first child off the kindergarten this year. We love our local experts! We got some great tips, some for the parents and some for the kids.

In response to the plethora of replies we received, Beth Ribe posted this: “Some great advice! My son starts K at LCS and I am nervous about him getting on the wrong bus or getting off at the wrong stop! I need more help than he does.”

We can all relate to that, I think!

Karen Petrick Podurgiel Wear sunglasses the first day (even if it is raining) so if you tear up when they get on the bus or when you drop them off to school, they won't see your tears

Amy Bass Don't interrogate them when they come home. Have a snack ready and let them tell you about their day at their own pace.

Jenna-Matt Miller In Kindergarten children are given more independence and responsibility than parents ever give at home. It is very hard to send your child into a situation of which you have no control. You may even think your child cannot succeed with all of the demands of school. The good news is that they adapt very quickly and they actually can do the things that fill your head with doubts. Think of kindergarten as training for future years of school. They learn rules, study skills and personal accountability. And don’t worry it’s a gradual process. They don’t need to walk into kindergarten on the first day already grasping those concepts.

Get to know the other parents of your child’s classmates. You won’t feel so lost during the year if you have someone to compare notes with. This can be done at orientation, getting involved with PTO, or just trying to meet at a park after school.

My advice to any parent who has a child just starting Kindergarten is get involved. At the beginning of the school year, there are many opportunities presented to you to get involved as a parent, no matter how much or how little time you can invest. For example, a parent can get involved in the school’s PTO committee, which requires little to as much time you as you want volunteering at the school. Yet it allows you to become a part of the school and community. Room Moms and Classroom Volunteers are always welcomed for those who have a little more time they can invest, and it is a great way to support your school and your child. Nothing made my child’s day more than when my husband and I took the time out of our busy schedules to come in and help with the class and school. Try to find some books about entering/going to school A great book to read the week before school is the Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, or Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney. Breathe, they will be great!

Karyn Collins Kiss them goodbye at the door of the bus or the door to the school with a big smile and encouraging words, then turn and leave. Save your tears until you're out of sight. Don't hang around in the class putting off the inevitable, it will cause your child to pick up on your worries. Remember that it's YOUR anxiety, not theirs. Take lots of pictures and hang on, it's quite a ride!

Fred Souza when they come home from that first day, have presents just like it was their birthday (it really is a new chapter) but make those presents books and learning games, and then begin the ritual of discussing the day (briefly) and ending with an activity like reading a book or having them show off what they learned. MAKE LEARNING MORE IMPORTANT THAN TV OR SPORTS--most importantly, get their father to do this-particularly if you have a boy!!!

Tracy Brown Phillips The best thing I did last year when our daughter went off to Kindergarten was to drive to the school after the bus picked her up, hide in the trees with my camera and take photos of the bus coming into the parking lot, her getting off the bus, etc. She had no idea I was there, so there was no pretending. She was confused and looked so lost, but it warmed my heart when a 'big kid' helped her and showed her where to go. Oh yeah - and then I met up with some friends whose kids were also starting Kindergarten for brunch and commiserating!

Nancy Schubring Brewer Read read read to them!! We have a great selection of books at both Bill & GF libraries about going to Kindergarten!

Stephanie Calhoun Get involved. Enjoy creating a school community that will benefit your child, yourself, and all of the children in the building.

Lisa Simmons-Toal Do not cry till they have walked through the door!

Karen Marie Take photos, make a scrapbook give to your child at their HS or college graduation.

Holly Sylvia Gagnon It's a big transition for both but dont fall apart until after the bus leaves(been there 3 x's!). Dont let them see your anxiety before. They need to know and feel that you are confident in them AND the people that are going to take care of them

Carrie King Study up on learning disability signs. Given the amount of work teachers do, they can't always recognize the signs for things like fine motor skills and APD.

Marthee Thorndike If its full day be prepared for tired kids the first few months even if they weren't still on a nap schedule. Best to have no pm activities during the school week the first few weeks or more...

Jennifer Giuliano Boudah Don't 'helicopter'....it's like Karyn said, they'll pick up on your anxiety...when my kids were going into Kindergarten, LCS had an orientation that included a bus ride to the High School and back...hopefully they did/will still do that...overall, make it fun!

Scott Williams See if you can get them a bus tour ahead of time or you may have to drive them for the entire year!

Want more specifics? Find some really great tips here.

Where can I find more great back-to-school stories? Right here, of course!


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