transition to elementary school

Preparing Your Preschooler for the Transition to Elementary School

Posted on November 5, 2021 : Posted in Children's Success in Life & School, Education and Development
transition to elementary school

Many parents feel anxious as their children approach kindergarten. Thankfully, this is a sentiment that is rarely shared by their children. Instead, children tend to be thrilled about the new adventure in front of them. However, parental anxiety is understandable considering the big change that kindergarten can be. Instead of worrying, there are plenty of ways that parents can ease the transition to elementary school. With careful preparation, the whole family will be excited and ready.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

When parents are clearly unsure or stressed, children often adopt the same attitude. To help your child feel good about the transition to kindergarten, work hard to maintain a positive attitude about the change. If your child expresses worries about moving to elementary school, listen sympathetically and encourage your child however you can. Also, when you feel the need to express any concerns about the coming change, move outside of your child’s earshot to have those conversations. Pinpointing your specific concerns and creating an action plan to address them will help soothe your anxiety.

Focus on Communication Skills

The ability to clearly communicate is one of the best tools you can give your child to encourage elementary school success. This is true for academic success as well as peer interactions and other important relationships. To help your child develop these skills, encourage them to speak clearly and in full sentences. Practice good manners, and roleplay common social situations. Additionally, if you notice your child struggling to advocate for themselves or say what they mean, coach them through those moments to help the transition to elementary school.

Talk about the new school year with your preschooler

Establishing a clear transition plan with your child will ease anxiety before starting elementary school. Sit down together during the early summer months to get on the same page about any changes or transition plans you’ll make. For example, you might decide to transition your child out of preschool over the course of a few weeks instead of having them leave all at once. If you’re planning on changing your family schedule, like stopping naps or bringing in new bedtimes; include your child in these decisions.

Talk about changes in their schedule and routines

The transition to elementary school can be an exciting time for kids, who are often more aware of the changes they will experience. It can also be a transition period for parents who are left with mixed feelings about their child moving on to big kid school. Maintaining a positive attitude while your preschooler transitions kindergarten is one way you can help them feel confident.

Pinpointing your specific concerns and creating an action plan to address them will help soothe anxiety for both you and your young children. How will things change such as lunchtime, bathroom breaks, recess and nap time?

Help them get ready for their first day by picking out clothes and packing a backpack with supplies 

The transition to elementary school can be an exciting time for kids who are more aware of the changes they will experience, but it can also be a time when parents have mixed feelings about their child moving on to a big kid school. To soothe anxiety in both yourself and your young child, pinpointing specific concerns and creating an action plan addressing them can help ease the transition. This includes getting them excited with a new bookbag or new school shoes.

Encourage them to talk to classmates on the bus or at recess 

Providing your child with the tools they need to transition to kindergarten successfully will ease their separation anxiety that may arise and put focus on making new friends. Besides encouraging communication, you can give them resources that are designed to help young children transition well by talking about their fears or concerns. This includes reassuring them that you are always available if they have any questions. Encourage them to talk to classmates on the bus or at recess to help them feel comfortable interacting with new people.

Arrange a meet-and-greet playdate for your preschooler and their future classmates so everyone is more familiar with each other before starting elementary school

It’s also important for parents who may be struggling with mixed feelings about sending their child to kindergarten to prepare themselves as well. Extracurricular activities is always another good way to know your child’s school community and allow your child to meet other kids that may go to school with your child around other students that might have never spoken to them before.

Be there for them when they need you but don’t hover over them constantly so they can feel independent

As scary and nerve-racking as it may be preschool transition is also an exciting time! Your child may say there nervous but on the inside, there could be this sense of growing up that they experience. After all, they are a big kid now. Allow your child some independence now, give them some responsibility. Let your child transition into a higher role around the house by giving them small tasks to become in charge of. Some tips may be to incorporate something different into their daily routine. For example, setting an alarm in their room, to help wake themself up in the mornings. Be proud of them and more importantly be proud of yourself.

Get Involved

Parents who are involved in their children’s schools and classrooms have a much better sense of their child’s successes and challenges. Many kindergarten classes have several fun opportunities for parents to help in the classroom. Obviously, not all parents can be present at the same time in classrooms during the school day. However, even making a point to attend open houses, parent-teacher conferences, and other school events will connect you to your child’s school experience. Many elementary schools host events for incoming kindergarteners and their families. If possible, take advantage of these opportunities to be involved.

Develop Responsibility

While kindergarteners still receive significant support at school, teaching your child personal responsibility will assist them throughout their elementary school journey. Practice responsibility by encouraging your child to follow through on tasks. This may mean clearing the table after meals, cleaning up toys, or keeping track of personal belongings. While no child in preschool will do these things perfectly, beginning to practice them early helps children succeed later. The transition to elementary school includes more responsibility, and practicing beforehand will benefit your child.

Ask Teachers for Feedback

Your child’s preschool teacher is an excellent resource to help your child prepare for kindergarten. Most preschools give regular feedback to parents regarding their children’s kindergarten readiness. If you are unsure of your child’s challenges or need direction, ask your child’s school staff for input. After spending many days with your child, preschool teachers can offer more details about the upcoming transition to elementary school. Teachers can also offer insight regarding any particular concerns you have about your child’s school readiness.

The transition to elementary school is an exciting time. Your child is entering a new phase of life that will include learning, growth, and friendships. While some parents and children feel anxious about the move to kindergarten, there are plenty of ways that you can prepare your family for this change. When you are positive about the coming transition, your attitude is contagious and helps your child be excited too. Through attention and planning, you will give your child everything they need to be successful. Are you looking for a preschool that will support your family through the transition to elementary school? Consider Legacy Academy, where your child’s success is our goal. Call or visit one of our locations today for more information.