H.C. asks from Middleton, WI on April 08, 2008
Getting a Young Boy Ready for Kindergarten
I have a 4 year old whose going to start kindergarten next year and I need some advice on how to get him ready for all day school starting at 8 am. He'll be 5 in August. Are there some books out I could look at? I am worried that he's going to struggle to get ready in the morning and not know what to expect.
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A.H. answers from Cedar Rapids on April 09, 2008
Have you thought about Alternative Kindergarten? It is only for kids with summer birthdays. Teachers say that it is like a gift they wish they could give to all kids, and those who do it have leadership skills that help them in Kindergarten. I am sending my son (who will be 5 in June) to Alternative Kindergarten (AK). The more people I talk to, especially teachers, the more I hear to wait on all-day Kindergarten for boys with summer birthdays.
Think down the road too, when they are in 9th grade and the youngest in the class. Personally, I would advocate waiting or AK.
J.P. answers from Minneapolis on April 09, 2008
Hi H.! I had my son attend a summer program at his school 3 day's a week. He got to know the school, kid's, and some teachers. So when the big day did come he did GREAT! Good luck!
T.L. answers from Minneapolis on April 08, 2008
If you are worried about him not wanting to get up. I would start trying different bed times and see which one lets him wake up on his own at 7 or whenever you think he should be up to get ready.
If you are worried about him not liking school you may want to put him in preschool or at least a preschool playgroup so he starts to understand you are not the only people he needs to listen to. If you have more ?'s feel free to contact me Good Luck :) T.
L.E. answers from Sioux Falls on April 09, 2008
I have some great books to help get your son ready for school. You can view a full ____@____.com/T2427
I started with my son about a month before school adjusting to the new routine. Getting to bed earlier and on time, waking at the same time, providing a list/chart of chores that need to be completed in the morning (get dressed, make bed, eat, brush teeth/hair ect.) By adusting bed time and wake up time by 5-10 each day won't make it seem like such a big change.
Talk about all the fun new things that he'll be doing/seeing, and new friends that will be made.
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J.J. answers from Minneapolis on April 09, 2008
H.! That is so exciting! I am a big proponent of play. You could build it into your own schedule- and call it school time. You could invite stuffed animals, or his other friends and do things you might do at school. You could have his bear be the teacher etc... start of with just a 1/2 hour and then grow the time a little. You can tell him you are practicing for REAL school.
There are books at Target that are numbered for level of reading. We have one called Biscuit goes to school- my son loves to talk about going to school. Positive and clear communication with your kids pays off! It gives you a reference point for when they do come to the magical moment of going to school- you already have a conversation started and you are in the drivers seat instead of all the emotions that come with the transition.
However no matter how much you talk it up or spin it as cool, there will be some heart ache and transition.
Do you ever leave your son at a friends house, to start him knowing how to separate from you? also the summer is coming up, does your community ed have any little kids programs like soccer or book clubs that he can do on his own?
Also, you may want to find your own support because you will go through a lot too- missing him etc... Your kids can see straight through you and if you are scared, they will be too. He's going to be looking to you for absolutely every ounce of guidance and modeling his attitude towards change.
An older mother once told me, you can't protect your kids from the world, you can only help them have the skills to cope with the world as it is.
Good Luck- He's going to do great! and so are you.
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K.R. answers from Minneapolis on April 09, 2008
I suppose it depends on what your exact concerns are, but my oldest will be 5 in Auigust, and he will start kindergarten this year as well. I thought for a moment about waiting a year, but there seemed to be no overwhelming reason to do it. He'll have to start eventually, and I don't think he'll really be any more ready in a year. Academically, I'm comfortable with where he is; we've always read a lot, and he knows his letters and can count reasonably well. He's not in preschool, but I do day care and have started using this curriculum with the kids: http://www.letteroftheweek.com/index.html It's designed for homeschooling parents, and we're not planning to homeschool, but it's just right for the academic kindergarten preparation, learning the pre-reading skills. There is also a series of books he loves, called "Get Set for Kindergarten." They each discuss a different content area (like science or reading or geography) and have exercises you can do with your child. He's enjoyed the activities as well as the chance to talk about what life is like in kindergarten.
We had his registration in late February, and we had a chance then to meet the teachers and the principal, see the classrooms and walk around the school. If you have specific questions, I would definitely recommend calling or emailing the school principal; ours was very helpful with all kinds of things and said we can come by during the day as well to see what it's like when students are there.
As far as the morning routine, I have naturally early risers, but we don't have much of an established routine, so I'm definitely going to be trying out the other parents' suggestions!
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L.K. answers from Appleton on April 09, 2008
When my son turned 4(April birthday) I sent him to preschool. It was only half a day and to tell you the truth, I had a harder time of it and I cried(alot). Everytime the bus came to pick him up I turned around to walk back to the house and I would start to cry. My heart was elated when the bus would come back after school to drop him off. I wanted to jump for joy as my baby got off that bus. To him, he had wonderful times at school and couldn't wait to go every day.
The post that JenniferM O wrote has wonderful info in it and another tip is to let him help you lay out his clothing at night so he just has to put it on in the morning. If you forget and don't lay it out, you may need to help him in the morning because you will throw him off.
My baby boy is now 7 yrs old and we still do the same thing, but he lays out his clothing by himself now and gets up with an alarm clock. My clock is set 10 minutes earlier than his so I can be dressed and fully aware if he doesn't get up when his alarm goes off. Give yourself and him plenty of time in the morning so you are not rushed. We even study in the morning sometimes. Turning on the tv for 15 minutes is a treat before school, but don't get sucked into it becomeing a habit.
I also set my timer on my stove to go off 15 minutes before the bus is due so if I am not paying attention, this will grab my attention. ( he is also learning how to tell time and may get ready right before the timer goes off)He gets his outside clothing on and goes to play outside but will be waiting for the bus.
It's all in routine.
Getting to bed early and rising early. Plenty of hugs.
I have the privelege of sending my daughter this coming year(she'll be 5 yrs in November)She will be an OLD preschooler and I wish I could have sent her this last year but her birthday was after the cutoff date. SHE is TOTALLY ready for kindergarden this year but we have to go by what the schools policies are. I know I will cry when she goes off to school too but that is just reality.
I have heard that for us Mom's, we take it harder than the kids do. For me, so far, that's true.
I agree with the summer programs and getting him used to not being with you. Even if your church has a child care area. This will help to let him know you will see him again.
There is tons of great information that these Ladies have here.
Just remember: Getting to bed early and rising early. Plenty of hugs.
Good luck and great question.
SAHM, married 9 yrs w/ Boy(7yrs in April), Girl(5 yrs in Nov), Boy(3 yrs in April)
V.A. answers from Minneapolis on April 08, 2008
Kids are usually very adaptable to schedules. I had the same problem when my kids (I have 4) first started kindergarten.
Before my oldest went to school, I worked evenings and they were used to sleeping in (so was I). I had to change our bed times and getting up time, so we could be ready for school. It was hard. Now in August, I make them get up early, and go to bed a little earlier, so when school starts it is not such a shock.
If you want to get your son ready academically, the best thing you could do is read to him everyday. Just learning to sit and listen is a skill they need to have. Also, have set aside time just to color or draw. Good luck and I hope he does great.
A.F. answers from Madison on April 09, 2008
If you are worried about the adjustment because you think the change may be to much of a shock to him and he is not quite ready, I would wait a year. I think holding boys back on the border is a good thing in most cases because of many of the reasons others have said here...physical size as they get older, learning differences between boys and girls, ect. I do not believe you can do any damage by waiting a year, but I think it is possible to do "damage" by sending a child too early.
My daughter is in full day kindergarten right now and I will say it has been a real adjustment for her.....and she was more than ready. Academically and socially I could have sent her to kindergarten a year early. She was use to getting up and being away from me during the day since I work. She was use to do school work since her day care provider did work things. She also was in dance, gymnastic, swim classes for a couple of years so she was use to structured sitting. Our district has a 4K program that is two full days a week. Even with all that going everyday all day has not always been easy on her--and with a November birthday she is one of the oldest in her class.
My son just turned 4 in March. He is so much different than my daughter....best way to describe him is that he is all boy. He to does swimming and gymnastics and has been in daycare, but with him I could see more prep was going to be necessary to get him ready for school. This year I have him in 2 half day preschool classes. Next year he will do the two full day 4k classes. So hopefully by the time he is all day kindergarten he will not drive the teacher to early retirement.
If you think he is ready for school, what I would do this summer is get him ready for the schedule by keeping bedtimes and getting up times. Since you are a stay at home mom I am not sure how much he has been exposed to being away from you....I can see that the seperation has been a real issue for some of the kids in my daughters class. Enroll him so summer courses where he has to be away from you and with other people.
If you have any doubts at all if he is ready, I do really think holding him back would be a good thing. Enroll him in a preschool program a couple of days a week, so he gets use to the idea of going some where.
D.N. answers from Wausau on April 09, 2008
Is he on a regular schedule now? If not, start a schedule . . .every morning get up at the time he will need to be for school. Practice getting dressed and go to the library for story hour or anything like that to get him in the routine of getting up and out every morning. Also, call the school and see if they offer a time when he can come to school and see everything. Many schools offer a "kindergarten for the day" type of program where the children actually go to kindergarten and check out everything even the busses. If your school doesn't offer this, see if they will let your son meet his teacher ahead of time and explore the room. This will help him feel more comfortable in a new situation.
I am sure you are already working on him printing his name and recognizing it, colors, alphabet, etc. Perhaps you can even do a mini-kindergarten at home to get him used to school routine.
Lastly, if you are really nervous he will be so RELAX he will have a wonderful time! My husband took our daughter to school for the first day and he was so worried about her when they got to school she said, "Bye, Dad" and HE cried all the way home! :-)
N.B. answers from Des Moines on April 08, 2008
That is tough...I have a 4 yo boy who turns 5 in May and I have decided to wait to send him to full day kindergarten until he is 6. He will go to 1/2 day optional kindergarten in Grimes next year. I just feel another year of prepping would be more beneficial, he doesn't seem as ready as my older daughter did at that age!