7 Tips to Get Your Kindergartner Over the Back-to-School Jitters

My daughter is starting kindergarten this September and I am not sure who is more nervous and excited, the student or her Mommy! I remember being anxious before the start of the school year and have come up with a few tips on keeping your child calm and confident about starting "big kid" school for the first time. These are tips I have used myself successfully and also ones heard on the playground from other more seasoned moms.

1.  Attend kindergarten orientation activities prior to September if at all possible. Even if this means rearranging your work schedule, you may find it helps out a lot later. My daughter's preschool offered a one-hour orientation that was held in a different school district than the one my daughter is attending (there are several districts within a short district of her preschool) but it was a great experience for her to get to go with her current classmates in a no-pressure setting.

2.  Don't make too big a deal out of it. Children feed off of their parents emotions and opinions. If your son or daughter feels like you are stressed or worked up over them starting school, this will create tension for them and cause them to worry more than they might have.

3.  Practice some kindergarten level activities in your own home over the summer. Most schools offer a list of basic concepts and skills that are covered in the beginning or first semester of the year.  Casually working on some of these concepts may help your child be more comfortable with what they are going to be doing once they are in the classroom.

4.  Plan a play date with another child also entering kindergarten. Even if they are in another district, county, or state, they will have the same new student element in common. Mention to them how cool it is they are starting kindergarten and let it go from there!

5.  Introduce your child to an older child  on your block or in your neighborhood, and let her know she will be going to school with "Sally" or "Sarah's older sister." Having a familiar face on the first day or at the bus stop could be a big help.

6.  Take your kindergartner out and let him pick out his own backpack and lunch pack if a small shopping spree is in the budget. Most kindergarten classes require these and allowing your child to pick out one that suits his personality gives her chance to express their independence a little. It is okay for your son or daughter to outgrow Thomas the Train and go with Darth Vader, and allowing children to make their own choices is a step towards confidence-building.

7.  Try to let go after she gets on the bus and is out of view! Remember that your little kindergartner is still your baby, and always will be. There is nothing wrong with feeling nostalgic and crying a little when she gets on the school bus for the first time. Even if your child currently goes to full day care, there is something different about her entering into elementary school for the first time.

Plan to go into work late that day and spend a little time with a friend over coffee or allow a break from running that load of laundry and allow yourself to relax. We both know it can sit there! It is a big day for Mom too, and you can pat yourself on the back that you both made it through your first day of school. Way to go, Mom.

Jeanine Ludwikowski is a fun-loving mom of two living in the Philly burbs. You can follow her on Twitter @MommyEntourage and on Facebook at Facebook.com/MommyEntourage. This post is adopted from her blog Mommy Entourage.

Categories: MomSpeak