What parents can do to help kids as the first day of kindergarten draws near

Children experience many firsts as they make their way through infancy and into childhood. Parents often remember their child’s first word and the day they took their first step, as both are major milestones in youngsters’ lives.

One of the most memorable firsts children experience is their first day of kindergarten. Though many youngsters now attend daycare and/or preschool before beginning kindergarten, the first day of kindergarten is still something special for both children and their parents. As the big day approaches, children about to begin kindergarten may experience a range of emotions, including excitement, anticipation and even a little anxiety or nervousness. Parents can help their children manage such emotions by taking various steps to make the first day of kindergarten as fun as possible.

· Request a class list. Some schools may not provide a class list and some will. Parents who can access the class list can go over the list with their children before the start of school. Doing so can lessen youngsters’ anxiety as they will no doubt recognize a few familiar names on the list. Knowing friends will be in class alongside them will no doubt make kids more excited for their first day.

· Discuss activities with school officials, including teachers. Some kids may not be nervous about going to kindergarten, but might not be looking forward to the end of summer. In such instances, reaching out to teachers and/or other school officials to learn what kids will be doing in kindergarten can help. Discuss first-day and early-year activities with teachers and then share that information with kids. Once kids learn how much fun they’ll be having in kindergarten, they might be less reluctant to say goodbye to summer.

· Let youngsters choose their clothes for the first day. When shopping for first-day-of-school attire, let kids choose their own outfits, explaining to them that the first day of kindergarten is a special day worthy of new clothes. Once the big day arrives, kids may forget their nerves and just be excited to get dressed and show off their new duds, especially if they’re wearing clothes they handpicked themselves.

· Attend a school orientation day. If your child’s school hosts a student/family orientation day, be sure to attend. Orientation will give kids a chance to see their classroom and meet fellow students as well as their teacher. That familiarity can calm kids’ nerves on the first day.

The first day of kindergarten is a milestone. Parents can employ various strategies to calm any nerves kids may have as the big day approaches.