There can be no denying that the transition from kindergarten into 1st grade can be difficult for many children. In many school districts, kindergarten is only a half day program, or a full day program that allows a rest period, that involves a lot of play mixed with education time.
But once your child enters 1st grade it does not take long for them to realize things have changed. 1st grade is often a longer day spent less on organized play and more on structured work. A lot of demands are placed on your child during this year and in hopes of a successful transition from kindergarten to the 1st grade the following is a list of steps you, as a parent, can take to help them.
The first step for a smooth transition into 1st grade starts at home. Your job as a parent is to make sure your child is getting enough sleep at night. Depending on the child, a typical 1st grader needs anywhere from 10-12 hours of sleep each night. Any less than that, you might find that your child’s behavior or attitude at school or even at home the next night can dramatically change.
Breakfast and lunch is another good way to help your child succeed at school. Studies have shown that children who eat a healthy, well-balanced meal every morning are much more able to focus and stay awake during the day at school. Sending a refillable water bottle with your child is a good way to ensure that they are keeping their brain hydrated as well. Just make sure it is a water bottle that is easy to open for little hands without spilling. Packing a lunch with favorite healthy foods for your child, and adding a personalized hand written note from home, reminds your child that, even when they are away from you during the day, that they are still on your mind and that you love them.
At the end of the school day, meeting your child with a snack that will not ruin their dinner and letting them outside to play a game or spend time with a favorite pet or younger sibling is a great way of letting your child unwind after such a heavily structured day at school.
Talking with your child is another great way to ensure that they will succeed. Discussing their day or talking about their high and low points will help you understand how your child’s day progresses. Or making sure that your child actually understands the rules of the class. Instead of simply telling them that they need to behave, a parent needs to explain the specifics of what behaving in a classroom actually means. Raising your hand and waiting for the teacher to call on you before speaking. Sitting on their bottoms, in their seat, while at their desk. Or even something simple as no running in the classroom but walk instead are specific examples of what rules of the class might be expected of your child.
A parent volunteering in their child’s class is another way of helping them ease into the 1st grade. Not only does it give your child more time with you, which they always appreciate that this age, but it also gives you a better understanding of how your child actually behaves in their classroom environment and the expectations that are required of them as a 1st grader. You also will get to know your child’s teacher and the friendships with classmates that they are forming.
A steady communication with your child’s school and teacher is also a good way of helping your child transition into their new classroom. Letting your teacher know if there has been a problem at home may allow her to make adjustments in your child’s schedule at school. On the same note, your teacher letting you know if there has been an issue with your child, allows you to address the issue at home. A child needs to know that when it comes to their education that their parents are on the same page as the school that they attend.
Joining school organizations, such as Parent Teacher Organizations, gives you first hand knowledge of upcoming events happening in your child’s school and may even allow you the opportunity of participating in them. Organizations and events ensure you will be more involved with your child’s education and give you the opportunity to meet other teachers and staff at your child’s school.
The transition from kindergarten to 1st grade can be difficult for many students, but with a few steps and adjustments from the parent, you may find that things will go more smoothly for your family and give your student the perfect 1st grade year.