The transition from Kindergarten to First Grade is a big one, and may seem intimidating to parents and kids. The best thing you can do to help your new first-grader prepare for the school year is have conversations at home about what they can expect. Start out by explaining how first grade is different from Kindergarten. For instance, they will be going to school all day, they will have more responsibility to do tasks on their own, and they will spend more time during the day learning to read and write.
Here are a few more conversation starters and tips to help your first grader get excited about the new school year!
Show Your Child
- What a first grade classroom looks like, if possible. Give them a tour of some things in the room.
- That getting adjusted to school is the priority! You don’t want to schedule too many activities or events for your child at the beginning of the school year. They need time to adjust and they will be tired, so make sure they have plenty of down-time.
- That when things get tough…you persist. Be prepared for them to possibly change their tune about school after the first 6 weeks. They may love first grade at first, but then feel like they don’t want to keep going and/or it’s no longer “fun.” Explain that this can happen to adults too! But we adjust and grow and remain committed to things. It will get better!
Encourage Your Child
- To take on more responsibility at home so they are prepared for this at school. Be clear about how they are responsible for clearing the table, cleaning up their toys/room, getting ready for bed or ready in the morning, etc.
- To read little books (at the A-E levels) and explain that these are the kind of books they will reading in school.
- To write about things they like. Encourage their writing at any stage of their development. Tell them they are real authors and what they have to say is important!
- To talk about books when you read together. Say, “In first grade, the teacher will be reading you books and you will talk about them as a class.”
Most of all, be patient with your child. Understand that this is a big transition, and it may take a few weeks or months for them to love first grade. If your child seems especially anxious or unhappy about school, call or schedule a conference with your child’s teacher. The more you support your child’s transition at home, the happier your first-grader will be about the year ahead!
Has your child already moved past 1st grade? What were some of the things you did to ease their transition from K to 1st? Let us know in the comments area below.