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SMOOTH SAILING INTO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

The transition from kindergarten to the first year of elementary school in the eyes of your six-year old represents a major shift in his or her daily activities. elementary school kidsGone are the days of nap time and half-day class sessions, and in their place are much more rigorous academic demands. But it is also a time where a child learns some of the most important (and rewarding) skills that will serve him/her for the rest of his/her life, and have a whole lot of fun too!

Below are some tips that will help to ensure that your child will adjust to his/her new schedule and responsibilities quickly and smoothly:

  • Start the conversation before the first day. It is important to explain the differences between kindergarten and first grade to your child so she is prepared to meet the different expectations. Talk to her about the longer day, but do so enthusiastically and let her know about all the fun new experiences she will have, like reading a whole book on her own and playing in gym class. Another way to get your student excited about the school year is to take her to the store and let her pick out her own school supplies.
  • Let your child know the teacher is a friend. One of the biggest fears many children entering first grade have is being away from a parent or other caretaker for such a long time. Let him know that the teacher is there to help him and it is ok to ask the teacher questions or tell the teacher how he feels. First grade teachers are experts when it comes to calming a homesick student!
  • Keep the conversation going. It is especially important during the first year of elementary school to inquire about your child’s school day. Inquire about her favorite subjects, what she talked about with her friends at lunch, and what parts of her day she did not like as much. Moving to the first grade is a big transition for your young academic, so be sensitive and try to help her solve any problems she may run into.

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Get your Child Ready for 1st Grade

For many children going to 1st grade is a huge milestone.  More hours spent in school, higher expectations for academic, behavior,  social skills, and more peer pressure.Child in First Grade

Here are some tips to parent these kids as “right” as you can before 1st grade:

Academics

  • Prepare your child with some online fun academics, flash cards, or any workbook for 1st grade readiness;  but make it fun!  10 minutes per day is enough! You can even try KUMON math and reading to get them strong in basics for math and reading.  This will also prepare them with homework.
  • Strengthen up any weaknesses your child may have in academics. If they need a little reading help, use the following tips in this blog. If they need some number work, try flashcards, or try a tutor, but even just 10 minutes a day can make a huge difference in their self esteem about academics.
  • Get your child tested now if you detect any challenges. Don’t wait for the teacher to say something at conferences!  Go get a good neuropsychological exam and you will know what strengths and challenges your child has and have an opportunity to grow them.
  • Use a daily schedule even in first grade for time management and learning appropriate skills.

Behavior

  • Make sure your child knows how to follow rules, understands boundaries, and knows the expectations of first grade children.  This includes raising hands, taking turns, staying quiet and getting involved/participation, etc.
  • Get your child some support if behavior is an issue.  There are social groups, social workers, books, all kinds of tools to help out there!
  • Your child needs to know what YOU expect of him and what your consequences  are at home.
  • Make sure your family gets proper sleep and food daily.

Social skills/Peer Pressure

  • Make play dates for your child and help model proper 1st grade skills.
  • Join a community playgroup/social group at a local clinic, park district or religious organization.
  • If you suspect something is still off about his social skills, get him evaluated and he can practice his skills with the right support.
  • Make sure to keep your child engaged and talkative with you so you can help him through the tough and great times of 1st grade.

Good luck!

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