Sending your first child or any child to kindergarten can cause mixed emotions. On one hand you might be excited even thrilled to have your vibrant five year old that asks a million questions a day out of the house for a while. On the other hand you might be fearful, worried and even paralyzed with anxiety. The transition for any family can be both joyful and difficult all at the same time. How do you prepare yourself for letting go after protecting your child for five years? They seem so young and fragile even though kids are strong and flexible. As parents we can have a hard time seeing our kids grow up and Kindergarten now being all day in most school districts can make for a long day for a five year old. So how do we prepare ourselves as parents and prepare our kids for Kindergarten. There really is no way to fully prepare yourself for sending your child to Kindergarten or for any part of parenting for that matter, but you can equip yourself so the process is a little easier especially when your child has Sensory Processing Disorder. Here are some ideas:
- Send your child to Preschool the year before Kindergarten Being a stay at home mom and practically having my children attached to me, I was a little nervous to let go and send my children to preschool but most preschools are half day and some only a few days a week. This makes it so you still have time with your child but you both get a little break. Preschool prepares children for Kindergarten emotionally, socially, and academically and helps kids with Sensory Processing Disorder develop a routine. Some parents are concerned about the cost of preschool but a lot of districts provide free preschool for four-year-olds so money is not an issue.
- Start establishing routines in the summer a month before school starts. Children with Sensory Processing Disorder thrive on routine. If your child is used to staying but very late and sleeping in until the day before school starts that is going to make an already difficult transition even more difficult. Also establish a morning and after school routine. Have your child get up and get dressed, brush teeth, etc. instead of hanging out in pj’s most of the morning. Decide what the after school routine is going to consist of. Where is your child going to put his/her backpack, lunch box, and folder when he/she gets home. Do you want them to do chores before they play? Is homework going to be after dinner or before and then there is the shower/bath to fit into the nightly routine. It is good idea to plan this out and talk about it with your child so you have a good plan. The night can fly by when there is only so much time after school.
- Have expectations for your child to be very tired. If you expect your child to have a few melt downs do to tiredness it won’t frustrate you and catch you off guard. Don’t plan after school activities or sports for the first two months so your child can get used to the new routine and adapt to the life of a school age child. Kids with sensory processing, autism, and ADHD are going to be effected more by such a big change.
- Trust the Lord and look to him for guidance. Pray and read your bible. I read my Bible every morning and spend some time with the Lord praying to him about my day and my kids. I have to trust that he is in control and is protecting my children with sensory processing.
- Have fun with it. Pack especial notes in your child’s lunch, take special first day of school pictures for Facebook, go to ice cream after school on the first day. This transition can be difficult but is memorable and special. Your baby is growing up and their first day of Kindergarten only happens once so deal with the fear and anxiety ahead of time so you can enjoy it and have fun with your child.
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