Guest Author - Vannie Ryanes
Has your son or daughter taken that first big step out of the nest and entered Kindergarten? Are you getting a good report when you listen to the child's conversations or actions? Or you finding something is not quite right? While many children love the adventure of Kindergarten, some do not. What can a parent do to help if the child is feeling lost? Of course the first thing to do is simply talk to your little one about his day, everyday. Although you have taught your child he can talk to mommy and daddy about anything, the child may shy away from school talk, especially if the child feels a slight or tease may be his fault.
If you did not tell your child ahead of time what to expect when he started going to school, do it now. Focus on the good experiences he can look to, but be sure to listen to his problems and his fears. The problems may be real or imagined, but all are real to your child. Fears are always real because they are the child's fear, your job is to reassure, not dismiss his fears and worries. Instead talk about what the child can do to alleviate those fear's. If he thinks he will not see you when you come to pick him up, tell him exactly where to wait for you. What if you are late? Tell him where to stand if you are late, but do make every effort to be there at the time you say you will be there. Know that it is better to be 20 minutes early than a few minutes late.
If the school bus picks up and delivers your child to and from school, did you take your child to the bus and introduce yourself, rather than send the child outside when the bus arrived? If not, it is never too late. Why not take your child for a ride taking the school bus route and point out the landmarks along the way. No landmarks? What about the house with the big tree in the yard, the sign on the fast food place or the yellow fence? In pointing out these landmarks to your child he will remember them; we all get comfort from the familiar. If this is your plan, follow the school bus one day, then continue your errands.
If the school did not have a "Get to know your teacher" meet before school started, request a meeting with your child's teacher as soon as possible. The meeting does not have to be long, just long enough for you to get a chance to chat with him and know what he looks like. This is also the teacher's chance to meet you and know what you look like, plus, it will let him know you are an interested parent. If your kindergartener is having a problem fitting in, ask the teacher what you can do to help him feel more comfortable in school, whether making friends, or sitting still, etc.