Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Prepping to be a Kinder Kid

As many of you are sending you kiddos off for school we still have one more week of freedom left. This is "A's" year to start kindergarten and my district implemented the full day model. I understand why this is an effective idea, but he seems so little. I have been totally stressing on how he will be without naps. He is an extremely active boy and I took naps away to prepare him and I have notice some behaviors when he is tired. I can't imagine only seeing him in the evenings and weekends. "A" is convince we won't have "quality time together any more." I am honest and tell him it won't be the same and our time will be less, but still filled with quality.

I mentioned taking away naps in preparation for "A's" new life as a kinder kid but I wanted to share some other ideas. Although I work in a school I am in no way an expert. I am as terrified and confused as all mothers who are sending their first born off to school. Here are just ten tips I found:

1)Talk about school and how much fun they will have. Explain what the day will be like. Make sure not to capitalize on the play though. If kids think kindergarten is all play, recess, art, etc. they are confused when they have to do some major work at learning. Talk about the learning FIRST and then all the play. I say things like, " You are gonna work on numbers, letters, you will learn to read  (isn't that exciting). You get to do scientist experiments even! Some days you get to go and learn music and other times you get to learn sports in PE. You will get to eat lunch and play on the park outside. You will have so much fun!!! I can't wait to see how much you are gonna learn!"

2) Read some picture books about kindergarten and school. On this same note have your child practice sitting still for the entire story so they know how to be at story carpet. Keep in mind not to find ones that only talk about playing but learning too. Books that talk about fear of school and then turning out to love it are also great choices. Here are some "A" really liked:
by Alison McGee. (Perfect for kiddos struggling with tying shoes too!)

By Joseph Slate (An ABC book that isn't too shabby either)
By Natasha Wing (A cute homage to the beloved Christmas poem)
By Anna Dewdney ( We love Llama Llama- yellow pajamas is a favorite bedtime story of ours)
By Laura Numeroff (another well loved series of books- all though my fave is the original mouse & cookie)
3) Have you child be able to write at least their first name. Ideally, they would know how to write their last name. "A" has mastered the last name bit because we have a very long, Dutch last name. However, I told him he needs to write the initial of his last name after his first.

4) Children should know some personal facts: They should know their first and last name (sounds obvious but I have seen this happen time and again), their parents first names, the city they live in, and try for the phone number (this is a hard one just keep working on it).

5)At least one week prior to school start a bedtime/wake-up routine. Make sure they are use to waking up and getting ready in time for them not to be late.

6) Students should preferably know their ABCs both orally and visually. Knowing the phonics would be especially useful. It is also great if they know how to count to ten (twenty is better). Knowledge of shapes and colors are also important.

7) Have some good ideas for quick, HEALTHY breakfasts and lunches. Breakfast ideas: make muffins ahead and freeze, mini-quiches in puff pastry shells (can also freeze), oatmeal concoctions (I am a huge fan of Hungry Girl Cookbooks and she has chapters on awesome oatmeal made in two minutes in the microwave-chocolate/banana and pumpkin pie-yum!), and yogurt parfaits with fruit, yogurt, and cereal/granola. I am always looking for packed lunch ideas so please share!!! Some I am thinking is pinwheels sandwiches, bento style meals, meat/cheese/crackers, soup. I found some cute sandwich cutters to make dino's, stars, hearts, etc.

8) Practice eating lunch and snacks. "A" still asks me to open fruit snacks and bags of crackers. Ack, what will he do when I am not there. We have had lots of picnics this summer where he has had to open different containers, bags, and wrappers all on his own.

9) Work on tying shoelaces. I have been super lazy about this and need to be more consistent. "A" is starting the year out in velcro shoes is all I have to say!

10) Send the teacher a get to know you letter. Over at Teach Mama she has made a printable letter that has your child write a note introducing themselves to teacher and then a matching letter where you ask the teacher to fill out and return to your child by the first day. What a great way to have them feel connected to their new teacher and help relieve fears. We found out his teacher to day and filled out our letters tonight!
This one goes to teacher for her to fill out about herself.

I hope he is ready for the big day! I don't know if I am though... My baby is growing up!!!

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