So the time has come my last baby is off to JK in just a few short weeks, Am I excited? Nervous? Sad? Yes to all three and I am sure he is feeling a lot of emotions as well. Do you have a little one who is taking the big step this year and going to all day Junior Kindergarten? Check out my top tips to help the transition be a little bit smoother for everyone!
1) HAVE A CHAT WITH YOUR KIDDO ABOUT WHAT TO EXPEXT
Explain to them how a day at school will go.
Talk about the role of the teacher and how to listen and respect them.
Let them know the expectations about sitting and listening - My eldest loved JK because he thought it was time to socialize with tons of new friends but took a few good weeks before he realized there was a certain time for that and then there was listening time.
Explain to them who the Principal is - One of my guys was asked the second week if he wanted to go the principals office since he wasn't listening and he answered happily with "sure". He had no idea it was suppose to be a punishment.
2). PRACTICE BATHROOM ROUTINE
Have your kiddo practice going to the bathroom completely by themselves. Maybe no tough buttons on pants for the first few weeks. Work on wiping bums and all of that solo.
My eldest had accidents for the first two weeks at school until we chatted and I realized he was so worried that if he left what he was playing with that someone would steal it he wouldn't go to the bathroom.
Pack extra everything. The teacher will give you a list of what you should have and in a plastic bag in case it does need to come home wet, but it is nice to keep checking for yourself so your little one doesn't have to shop from the lost in found.
3) PREPARE FOR LUNCH TIME
Practice having your child open the containers your will be sending for lunch. If they have two lunch breaks I know some moms will label the containers number 1 and number 2.
Keep track of what is coming home from lunch and talk to your child about why something may not have been eaten.
Try to get them involved with packing lunches. My guys will eat more lunches if they have a part in picking and making it.
I have an awesome Pinterest board of back to school lunch ideas -
4) BE PREPARED FOR THE CRANKY TIRED MONSTER
Don't be surprised if the first few weeks do not run as smoothly as you envisioned. Drop off may be tears and screams or it may be a quick kiss good bye. I wouldn't plan anything super exciting for the evening for the first few weeks as you are going. to want to get your kiddo to bed and they will be exhausted. They are going through so many new emotions, relationships, routines and stimulation it may take a while for everyone to get into the new routine.
5) TRY TO BE INVOLVED
You may not get any answers about what they did at school. My guys never really wanted to share or talk about it or by the end of the day they were just done. Most classes after the first few weeks will ask for a parent volunteer in the classroom and it is a great way to get involved and see what your child is up. If you can't be in the classroom most schools have parent council and different levels of involvement. It is a great way to show your child you care and support their school.
Have your little one practice taking their shoes off and putting them on. Most classes ask for specific indoor shoes so the kids will be expected to get their shoes on and off. Make sure they can do it before you buy the new shoes. (Maybe skip the laces). Get them to practice zipping up their jackets and in the winter putting on mitts (this is a tough one).
7) LABEL EVERYTHING!
Yes it is a pain but it is worth it in the end. I like Mabels labels. I label shoes, jackets, hats, some clothes if it is a sweater and everything in the winter.
I label water bottles, and lunch stuff too.
But don't buy something you will be upset if it gets lost. The first few years I bought really expensive lunch containers and was crushed when one would get lost.
8) LISTEN TO YOU KID
They may not share everything about their day, but chatting about it just before bedtime and asking specific questions like who did you play with today? What was your favourite part of the day? This might get you more answer than how was your day?
Whatever you do know this is an exciting time for you and your child, it will be transition but in the end it will be worth it all.