Routines for Kindergartners

Set up a routine for your child even if you’ve never really had one before.  The sooner you do, the easier everything will fall into place.  Stick with the plan even if it’s hard at first.  Have a “real” bed time, and this may have to change when your child comes home exhausted.  The time you read to your child every night, the time lights are out and the time your child gets up in the morning, are all areas to look at when you create your family routine.  I highly recommend that you encourage your child to eat some kind of healthy breakfast before school, even if it is something small.

If your child has food allergies, I recommend you only have them eat what they bring from home.   Whether it’s your child with the allergies, or someone else’s child in the class, it is a good idea to ask the teacher/principal what the policy is for peanut and tree nut allergies.  Does your child’s school have a separate table in the lunchroom for those eating a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, peanuts of some kind or other tree nuts?  If so, you can help explain this to your child and why it’s so important to follow these rules.  It may seem like an inconvenience for you and your child, but think of the child with the allergies, and how dangerous it can be for them.  You can work out something for class birthday treats with the teacher if you are allowed to bring in treats. (Here’s an idea for children with food allergies:  The child’s parents provide a box or bag of safe snacks that their child can have when others are having a birthday treat.  These can be kept in the classroom.)

Decide what you would like your child to do with his/her backpack (filled with papers) each day when they come home.  Are you going to go through the backpack every day?  I don’t recommend you wait until 9:00pm.  What if your lovely angel forgot to tell you about a homework page due the next day?  If so, have them place their pack in a specific area everyday when they get home.  If you want them to be responsible for part of this, have a basket, file tray or specific shelf that you want them to lay their folder (if all papers are truly inside) or papers that the teacher/school sent home.  This includes homework, newsletters, updates, flyers, info from PTA, school library book, etc.  Have your child get out their lunchbox which may very well be messy inside and full of partially eaten food and empty wrappers or containers.

Praise your child each day for following this routine, make corrections when necessary.  If your child needs more motivation, perhaps a star chart would help.  They receive a star on the chart for each day they follow their routine without being asked.  (Some children respond to star charts, and some don’t.  It may be worth a try.)  Pretty soon you won’t have to double check their backpack or wonder if there is something else inside.   

Be happy and excited for your child.  Many students are so excited to go to school!  They can’t wait for homework even!  Reciprocate their enthusiasm.  They will look at you to see how you are reacting to the situation.  If you aren’t sure about your child’s teacher, they may not be sure about him or her either.  I don’t recommend you verbalize any negative thoughts or fears within ear shot of them.  This just sets your child up for doubt.  It’s okay for you to feel sad, but be excited and joyful for your child.  They will never have a first day of kindergarten again.  

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