Published on April 7, 2021

It’s time for big school!

Starting Kindergarten is an incredible and exciting milestone in the life of your family, but it can also be unbelievably daunting for both children and parents. Over a very short period, your child will learn new routines and will start developing new skills and abilities very quickly. This is a big change for your youngster, and they may need a bit of extra support and rest
during the first few weeks of school.

Here’s some practical tips from our School psychology team to ensure you transition like an expert!

dad waving by

Start the transition early

Transition doesn’t simply happen on the first day of school. It begins well before your little person arrives at the school gates on day one and continues into Term 1 and the remainder of the year. Starting to prepare your child for school in the weeks and months before they arrive, is a good idea.

Practical things you can do:

  • Start reading stories together about starting school, trying on school uniforms and school bags, and practising the school routine.
  • Be sure to attend Kindergarten orientation days at your school and start talking to your child about the teachers and other students you have met. This will help to alleviate anxieties.
 

Build a consistent school routine

A predictable routine is an essential part of managing the transition to Kindergarten.

Practical things you can do:

  • Try to establish a regular morning routine that culminates in drop off. When it is time for you to say goodbye, aim to do so quickly and without making too much of a fuss.
  • Ensure you follow through on your families pick up plans at the time you have set and build a relaxing afternoon routine that allows your child to rest and unwind after their busy day. It’s a busy and tiring time for everyone!

 

Honour their feelings

Some children will be overwhelmed with excitement at all the people they are meeting and things they are learning; others may feel more fearful or unsure. Both responses are normal and natural and deserve to be heard and understood by the adults in their life. Think about how you interact with your child as they navigate the change.

Practical things you can do:

  • Instead of using phrases like “don’t be silly, it will be fine” try things like “it is a big change to start school, but we’re here for you and so are your teachers and friends”.

child hiding behind tree

Stay connected to school

It’s important to communicate regularly with your child’s teacher and become a member of the school community. You should receive updates from your child’s teacher, but if you have any concerns, or if there is anything that you think your child’s teacher should know, don’t hesitate to organise a meeting for a chat.

Practical things you can do:

  • Come along to events at school and get to know other parents. You are as much a part of the school community as your child. It will also help with some of the overwhelming feelings you may have with your child starting school.

Look after yourself, too!

Starting Kindergarten isn’t just hard on the children – it can also be challenging to watch your wonderful little person take their first incredible steps out into the big, wide world. Honour and validate your feelings about this huge milestone and ensure you are caring and compassionate towards yourself.