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Successfully parenting a kindergarten student

The Class of 2030 is kicking off this school year as they start Kindergarten!  Oftentimes kids are more ready than parents to take the plunge into formal schooling.  Today we are going to share tips on how parents can support their Kindergartener’s success.

Kindergarten is a critical year of growth and development for children.  Most parents went to Kindergarten 20 or more years ago and may think of it as playtime with games and crafts.  However, kindergarten is much different today than it was 20 years ago as classes are often full days of structured learning in a traditional classroom environment.

What can parents do to support their Kindergartener?

Daily Routines and Habits:

It truly does take a village to raise a child and all of the adults involved in raising a child being on the same page is important.  Daily routines and habits set a child up for success if they are consistent and followed by all adults such as grandparents, babysitters, and others who need to know and follow the child’s routine.

  1. Provide your child with a healthy breakfast before school and a nutritious lunch.
  2. Teach your child: *To recite full name, address, and phone numbers of parents/guardians. *To be responsible for and to recognize their own belongings. You can help by labeling  ALL their belongings. *To attend to own personal needs: toileting, using a tissue, and washing face and hands.
  3. Choose clothing for your kindergartener that is comfortable and “easy on, easy off” (no zippers & buttons) as they may not have an adult to assist them.
  4. Read to your child at least once daily. Reading increases vocabulary. Read everything from books to road signs, labels, restaurant menus, food boxes, and billboards.
  5. Together parents and teachers make a team. The year is about cooperation and trust. If something may be affecting your child, let the teacher know. Ask the teacher the best time and method for communication from you since the teacher will be very busy and distracted by students.
  6. Make sure that your child has time to play after school and on weekends. Now that your child spends more time in a structured school environment, you should allow more free time at home for play.
  7. Develop a new routine that includes time for homework, playtime, and getting plenty of rest at night (9-11 hrs). Routine is important for young children, especially when school starts and they are required to meet specific goals.

Supporting Your Child’s Emotional Needs:

  1. Treat going to school as part of the normal course of events that will be a positive experience for your child. A calm, matter-of-fact, positive attitude will best help your child get the most out of Kindergarten. Avoid complaining about school in front of your child.
  2. Help your child develop strategies to resolve peer conflicts and to know when to ask an adult for help.
  3. Encourage your child to share school experiences with you. Take an active interest in your children’s schooling. Ask specific questions about what happens at school each day and how your children feel about it.
  4. Get involved with the parent-teacher organization. Ask your child’s teacher what their volunteer opportunities are in the classroom.
  5. Plan for how you are going to keep or exhibit your child’s work such as art, projects, etc. so they know you value their learning. You do not have to keep all of it but do not treat it like trash or they may think their work does not matter.
  6. Be a confidence builder for your child and teach skills so they become more self-sufficient. Letting go it hard to do but essential for them to grow.

Resources for Parents:

CDC’s Parent Information (Children 4−11 years) https://www.cdc.gov/parents/children/index.html
This site has information to help you guide your child in leading a healthier life.

HealthyChildren.org https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/Pages/default.aspx
AAP’s Healthy Children website provides information on feeding, nutrition, and fitness for all developmental stages from infancy to young adulthood.

Just in Time Parenting (JITP) http://www.jitp.extension.org/

Quality, research-based information to families at the time it can be most useful.

Let’s Move – Child Care https://healthykidshealthyfuture.org/
You will find information on physical activity for young children.

Academic Core Standards http://www.corestandards.org

Courtesy of Social Health Association of Indiana, an educational nonprofit organization empowering youth to make responsible choices and adopt healthy behaviors. Parent resources are available on the website: www.socialhealth.org  or by calling 317-667-0340