How to Help Preschoolers Prepare for Kindergarten

The transition from preschool to kindergarten is a big milestone—and a big adjustment. Whether your child is excited or nervous, there are several ways you can help prepare your child for kindergarten. At KLA Schools, parent involvement is very important to us. These are some of the tips we give our parents when it’s time for their preschooler to start kindergarten.

Set realistic expectations for kindergarten

Many parents are excited about a child’s starting kindergarten, but it’s normal for the child to be anxious or even scared. You can help your child deal with these emotions by setting realistic expectations ahead of the big day.

Hold two-way discussions and ask open-ended questions like, “What do you feel when you think about starting kindergarten?” Then, respond with empathy and help them to find coping strategies. For example, you can say, “I was scared of talking to people when I started kindergarten too. Do you think you can practice by just saying hi to people?” Respectful conversation and discussing coping strategies will help them to feel supported and confident.

Additionally, don’t hesitate to ask your child’s new kindergarten teacher for guidance. Teachers are experts in helping preschoolers adjust to kindergarten, and they’ll have some useful tips you can use at home.

Start your new kindergarten routine early

If your child is already used to the new routine before their first day of kindergarten, they may have an easier time adjusting when the time comes. In the week or two before the first day of kindergarten, practice the new routine. For example, have breakfast together at the same time each morning, walk or drive to school and back, pack their backpack, and prepare packed lunches or snacks.

Get your child involved

If your child has a sense of ownership and control in getting ready for the first day of kindergarten, they can feel more comfortable about the adjustment. Here are some ideas:

  • Go shopping for school supplies with them
  • Have them choose their own backpack
  • At home, encourage them to practice packing their backpack
  • Let them pick out one special school outfit or clothing item
  • Read books about the first day of school together

Be patient with separation anxiety

Many children experience separation anxiety in the first few days of the school year, and it can be difficult to predict. Some children can exhibit signs of anxiety after a period of good days. Others may have a more difficult time than others. If your child seems to be having trouble with the kindergarten transition, it’s important to stay consistent and patient. Stick to your daily routine and stay supportive. This way, you’ll help your child see that kindergarten can be fun, and they’ll have a chance to work through their feelings.