A Guide to Prepping for Kindergarten (The Tough Lessons)
As the end of August is upon us, I have officially started our Kindergarten count down! I’m feeling good about most of it. I know my little girl is ready to learn, grow, and make new friends.
But the start of Kindergarten has also sparked some surprising realizations. The transition is a significant change for my daughter but also for our entire family.
It takes a lot of mama strength to hold back all the spirals of fear and anxiety I have on her behalf. Most of my thoughts start with the realization that my girl is going into the real world. She is going to have a full, daily life that is apart from me. She will have influences outside of my control: older kids, peers, teachers, coaches, etc. I hope her experiences are sweet, endearing, and cheerful, but I know that one day she will run into some challenges. People won’t be nice. She will have her feelings hurt.
And at the end of this thought train, I hit the brakes and regain control. She will have the bravery and confidence to conquer inferiority, the feeling of self-doubt; she will be smart and thoughtful. But as her mom, I want to support and build that confidence before she needs to figure out how to put it to use.
Make a list of topics you want to cover with your child before school starts
Ok, so there are a number of what-ifs that have crossed my mind, but there are a few really important topics I want to talk to her about that I’m sure were not covered in preschool.
- Her body
- Stranger danger
- Caring for others
- Being brave
- Solving problems/not giving up
This isn’t to say I haven’t covered these topics before with her, but I really want them to begin to sink in.
After doing some research, I found some really good message-driven books that touch on each of the topics I’m hoping to begin to discuss with my daughter. I checked them out at the library and read a few of them daily. When reading, it’s important to take your time, allow your child to ask questions, see if they have any stories or can come up with examples of the important concept you’re discussing.
Make Time to Chat
Talking is important and making sure your child feels they can come to you with just about anything on their mind is crucial to having a healthy relationship. So, try to build in 10-15 minutes per day of solo chit-chat time with your child and make it routine. This can be during an afternoon walk, while preparing dinner, during a coffee/snack break, or even jammies and story time before bed. I have found that parents who take time to simply just be with their child, let them talk at you, to you, ask questions is crucial to building trust so they can come to you with whatever is going on in their little five and six-year-old lives. Topics will naturally surface in conversation and you can begin see inside the little mind and all the interesting and imaginative facets of their lives. You can also keep a mental list of issues/concerns that rise and look for books accordingly.
Why do books help deliver messages to children?
Your child is listening!
They love stories and can invest themselves in the narrative. Indulge in that — and use books as guidance to help spark interests and questions on important topics.
Books are Teachers
And I am not! Some really good books unfold complex issues and break them down into easy, age-appropriate narratives that will capture your kiddo’s attention.
Popular Kindergarten Books That Tackle Tough Issues
There is something inherently different about preschool versus Kindergarten. While I do think teachers and the overall school community protect Kindergarteners as best as they can to ease them into elementary school, I also think that they share a school building with hundreds of older children. They will encounter real-life issues and have no idea how to navigate them (let alone realize they are sorting through what we identify as “issues”).
Here is a list of books I personally found useful. Available for purchase on Amazon (and likely easily checked-out at your local library!)
What books have you found to deliver good messages for rising kindergarteners?
It’s back to school time as kids use spelling and reading skills to search for words all about school. The fun continues at Education.com with more learning resources just like this!