8 Steps to a Confident Kindergartener
Your little one officially joins the big leagues on her first day in kindergarten—and as her parent, you can set her up for major success. Follow these simple tips from Girl Scouts’ Developmental Psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald to give her a strong start to the school year.
1. Set the Mood
Your daughter picks up a lot of emotional cues from you, so show her how excited and proud you are of her for taking this big step! Talk to her about all the fun she’ll have and cool new things she’ll be able to learn. Then, head to the library and pick up a storybook about kindergarten to read together. There are loads of them!
2. Help Her Know What She Knows
Does your child already know her alphabet? Her colors? Can she count to ten or higher? Celebrate those skills with her and make sure she knows that those abilities will help her when she starts school. Calling out her strengths will give her the confidence she needs to take her learning to the next level.
3. Help Her Make Friends
If possible, get a class list before the school year starts and invite a few other children for a play date. Having a few familiar faces in the crowd will help your daughter feel less alone and give her an instant crew to hit the jungle gym with!
4. Take Her On a Dry Run
Check to see if your daughter’s new school offers tours or meet-and-greets with teachers. Visiting the actual classroom space, seeing the playground, knowing where she’ll have snack, and even locating the bathrooms will put her mind at ease.
5. Work On Introductions
Your little one is going to be meeting all kinds of new people when she starts kindergarten, so make sure she knows how to introduce herself with a smile and eye contact. You can playact introductions with her stuffed animals until she’s delivering, “Hi, my name is _________,” like a pro.
6. Practice Makes Perfect
In a sea of kids waiting to have the teacher help them zip up a coat or put their shoes back on, your girl will feel extra confident being able to do it herself. So, practice buttons, zips, Velcro, and whatever other fasteners she might need to do and undo during the day to ensure she’s prepared.
7. Give Her Emergency Info
Making sure your daughter can spell her name and that she knows her phone number will give you both peace of mind that in case something happened, she could get help and be reunited with you. Make sure that information—her full name and your contact information—is on a card in her backpack as well, just in case.
8. Respect Her Style
Let your little scholar pick out her own clothes for the first day. She’ll feel more confident in an outfit she loves and is comfortable in (yes, even if it doesn’t really match!). Lay out her choices the night before to reduce first day of school morning stress.
9. Charge Her Up
Make sure your daughter gets a good night’s sleep and that she eats a nutritious, balanced breakfast. Not sure what that looks like? Nix the sugary cereals and opt for something with protein and whole grains—even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread is healthier than a donut or other treat, and will help ensure she doesn’t have a sugar crash (and the confidence crash that would go with it) halfway through her big day.