The transition from preschool to kindergarten can be difficult.

Tips for Parents on Transitioning to Kindergarten From Preschool

by Kathy Gleason

Moving from preschool to kindergarten can be hard -- on kids and parents! Your child might be fearful of going to a new school, where she'll encounter unfamiliar teachers and kids. You might be worried about whether your child is mature enough to handle a full-day kindergarten or riding the school bus, depending on your school district. Preparation can help make the transition easier -- for both of you.

1. Talk to Your Child

Many preschools have a graduation at the end of the year, which helps kids understand that preschool is over and it's time for the "real" or "big girl" school. Spend the summer discussing the change. Explain that kindergarten requires more days a week and can last all day. Emphasize that it means she'll have more time to learn, play and make new friends.

2. Familiarize Your Child With His New School

Point out the new school when you walk by with your child -- make a fuss over it. "Look, there's your school! It's going to be so exciting when it's time to go there!" Spend time playing on the kindergarten playground, which will help your child get used to the layout and equipment. Who knows? He might even run into other kids playing there who will be his future classmates.

3. Schedule a Tour

Many kindergartens have an orientation for new children, but if not, call the school and see whether you can arrange a tour and meeting. Introduce your child to her new teacher and principal and show her the kindergarten classroom and any other rooms that might apply to her, such as the gym and cafeteria.

4. Foster Independence

Making kids a bit more independent can help them transition to kindergarten. Practice putting on and taking off boots and jackets so they feel confident doing it at school. Also, schedule some play dates or ask a babysitter to watch your future kindergartener for a few hours here and there in the weeks leading up to school so he gets used to being away from you.

5. Practice Skills

Ensure that your child is ready for kindergarten by working on academic skills during the summer. Practice counting, recognizing and writing letters, and identifying shapes and colors.

6. Get Into a School Routine

A few weeks before kindergarten begins, start a school-friendly schedule. Have children go to bed and wake up at the times necessary once school begins.

About the Author

Kathy Gleason is a freelance writer living in rural northern New Jersey who has been writing professionally since 2010. She is a graduate of The Institute for Therapeutic Massage in Pompton Lakes, N.J. Before leaving her massage therapy career to start a family, Gleason specialized in Swedish style, pregnancy and sports massage.

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