Don’t Sweat Out Kindergarten

Preparations for Kindergarten can get pretty involved.  They would include making sure your child has the right clothes, looking into the right schools for your little one and helping the teacher have all the school supplies she needs.  But preparing your child emotionally to set out on this big adventure is one of the biggest challenges of preparing for kindergarten.

Actually, the task of making sure your little one goes off to have a great first day at school experience doesn’t start with the child.  It starts with you.  Children take their clues from mom and dad.  And very often it is mom who is on the front lines of this first step of guiding her baby through the many twists and turns of public education.  And as much as a child might experience some nervousness and anxiety about the big change that is coming, mom may be the one that feels anxious about this next big step in the life of her child.

There are many emotions that come with parenthood.  And unfortunately worry and fear are two that seem to be constant companions of moms who feel it is a big job to protect this precious life that has come to live with you.  There is a big secret you should know that will help you tremendously in making sure your child is excited about that first day of school.  And that secret is your child should not be able to tell that you are afraid for her or that you have any anxiety at all.  If your little one feels you are confident both in the school and in her to go to kindergarten and be a big success, that confidence will translate into a strong self confidence that she can live up to your expectations.

Children take almost all of their emotional cues from their parents, particularly at this early age.  If there is a momentary time of insecurity such as a car mishap or a problem with the house, if mom and dad stay calm, the children will stay calm.  They trust you to telegraph the right emotional response to change and challenge in life to them and they will mimic you faithfully.

What is both comforting and a bit disturbing about this trait in children is that they can sense if you are afraid or nervous even if your words are confident and reassuring.  Children learn how to read body language long before they learn spoken language.  So in order for you to telegraph confidence and a sense of excitement about the big change that is coming, you have to feel it too.  And that can be difficult if you are experiencing anxiety about being without your child and seeing her head out into the unknowns of life without you being there to protect her.

The earlier you get a grasp on this concept and begin to discuss it with your spouse, the more successful you will be at quieting your own fears and anxieties so you don’t pass them along to your children.  There are a number of ways you can help yourself calm down and begin to feel that excitement you want your child to know.  You can go to the school and watch a class being conducted so you get a feel for the talents of the teacher and the warm and creative environment in class.  Then if you meet the teacher after class and discuss your thoughts with her, that will help a lot.

By thinking through this big change and getting excited about the big adventure your child has ahead, you send a message of fun and excitement to her as she heads out to kindergarten.  And that attitude can be the key to her success in this next big phase of her life.