Fredericksburg Parent

August 2012

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Putting Your Baby on the Bus How to Part Ways with Your Kindergartener BY CHRISTA MELNYK HINES circle with less oversight from you. Plan ahead to pave the road to a happier kindergarten transition for all. For many parents, kindergarten signals a significant transition from the all-consuming baby and toddler years. Suddenly, your "baby" is expected to make more choices on her own, stay focused over a longer period of time, learn new skills and navigate a social Recognize friendly faces. Before school starts, arrange play dates with future faces on the first day may help calm any nervous butterflies. classmates. A few familiar Tackle a few skills. While knowing his colors, the ABCs and how to count to ten will give your child a head start. Work on other skills like teaching him to tie his shoes and his full name and birthday. Visit the school. Before school begins, attend school orientations and meet the teacher to help your child grow familiar with his new learning environment. Calm kindergarten jitters. Build excitement and optimism for school. Shop together for a new backpack or lunchbox, school supplies and new clothes. "Even if parents are feeling nervous, they should do their best not to portray that to their child," says Kathy Weller, a kindergarten teacher at Hugh Mercer Elementary School. "Be very upbeat about the upcoming new experience." Read together. Reading to your child not only teaches valuable listening skills, it's a great time to help your child prepare for the kindergarten experience. Check out books like The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing and Kindergarten Rocks by Katie Davis. Plan transportation. Avoid transportation snafus by sticking to a plan and keeping your child (and the teacher) informed. If your child will ride the bus and is nervous, listen and reassure her. Drive the route ahead of time. Also, seek out a "bus buddy" for your child, whether a responsible older neighbor child or another bus-riding classmate. On the first day of school, arrive early at the bus stop. Introduce yourself and your child to the driver. Assure your child that you (or whoever you've designated), will be waiting for her when the bus returns after school. Good eats, solid zzz's. Make sure your new kindergartener gets plenty of rest and eats healthy meals, which will help him better manage the stress of the transition and stay focused during school. Wake up a little earlier to avoid a rushed first day. 14 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • August 2012

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