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The summer is coming to an end and the new school year will soon begin. If you have a little one headed to kindergarten this year, it can be a scary and exciting time for both of you. Here with some tips on how to get your little one prepared for the first steps into school is Stephanie Janikowski, teacher and blogger at When Crazy Meets Exhaustion. Keep these tips in mind for a smooth transition to kindergarten and a positive start to your child’s education.

Stephanie Janikowski
When Crazy Meets Exhaustion

Stephanie Janikowski is a mother of three living in Pittsburgh. An English teacher by trade, she also writes about life as a mom with a great sense of humor at her blog, When Crazy Meets Exhaustion. She is also a writer for the educational website We Are Teachers. Stephanie’s humorous observations about parenting often earn her mentions on the Huffington Post and she has also been published in bestselling humor anthologies I Just Want To Be Alone, The Big Book Of Parenting Tweets and The Bigger Book of Parenting Tweets.

Expose Your Child To Reading And Writing (Way!) Before The First Day Of School

Kids aren’t expected to show up on the first day of Kindergarten writing their full names or reading complete sentences. However, giving them a leg up can’t hurt. Read together on a daily basis, practice writing — if only the letters of the alphabet! Reading for only 20 minutes a day exponentially increases a child’s achievement rate, not only in Kindergarten, but in all academic endeavors.

Let Him Practice Independence

Going out to dinner? Let your child order his own meal. When he needs a refill, make it his responsibility to speak up. Don’t hover when he’s doing something new or challenging; let him stumble then figure it out. Being able to voice one’s needs and practice problem solving are traits of successful people, no matter their grade or age!

Go Away!

Let another adult, one you know and trust, care for your child for a few hours. Experiencing separation before the first day of school will allow your child (and you!) to deal with the emotions that come along with it. Maybe your kiddo will hop on the bus and never look back, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared!

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Create And Reinforce Clear Expectations

Ever wonder how Kindergarten teachers are able to control a class of 20 and most of us parents are struggling with two kids who actually belong to us?! As in many areas of life, consistency is key when it comes to teaching children anything. Elementary school teachers are infamous for catchy phrases (1, 2, 3 all eyes on me!) and sing-songy directives (Zip it, lock it, put it in your pocket!), and there’s a reason why: they work! Creating clear expectations in the home helps children acclimate to their classroom rules much easier.

Reassure And Support Your Child

Trying something new is daunting for adults, so it’s common sense that a child would be anxious to start Kindergarten. Share your favorite memories of going to school, read books about the first-day experience, talk about the things she has to look forward to. But whatever you do, don’t tell your child there’s no reason to be afraid or nervous. Negating how she’s feeling isn’t reassuring or helpful. Instead, recognize those emotions, talk about a time where you, too, felt afraid, and discuss various calming tactics, i.e. taking deep breaths, saying a prayer, humming a favorite song. Kindergarten is a new chapter in your family’s life; it won’t be perfect, but it will be exciting, especially if you’re prepared for what lies ahead!

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Jennifer Stockdale is a native of the greater Pittsburgh, PA area. She is a restaurant marketer and wine enthusiast and one of the hosts of the East Coast Wine Geeks Podcast. Her work can be found at