26 answers

Starting Kindergarten - Monson,MA

My 5 almost 6 yr old is starting kindergarten next Tuesday and keeps telling me he is scared. I tried to tell him that it's ok to be scared, but that it will be fun and they have 3 playgrounds at the school. Throughout the day he will come give me a hug and tell me he's scared. It breaks my heart. I just try to be positive and tell him not to worry and will mention the bus and who will be on it, but I'm running out of things to say. Any advice/comments. Thanks Mamas--M. W.

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Featured Answers

My son also is starting Tuesday. IF you are from Lincoln, and plan to attend the "meet the teacher" event Friday, ask around for Jimmy's mom. We will introduce them to oneanother and hope all goes well from there.
however, if you are not from Lincoln, make friends with another mom asap and work the same way.
in my opinion, that would work great! best wishes.

1 mom found this helpful

Oh how I was in the same place last year! A great piece of advice a friend gave me - was to find a flat rock (I guess you could use anything - but we found some at the beach over the summer) and on one side we wrote my daughter's name and the other side we wrote "mommy". I told her to hold on to it when ever see felt scared (on the bus). Well we both rubbed the rock as we waited on day one for the bus. By day two - she said - let's just leave it in my backpack - I'm all set!!! If not a rock - maybe something special you could buy him like a key chain or small stuffed animal?? It's hard getting to the first day - but hopefully after a few days he will adjust and have a blast! Good luck!!!!!!

1 mom found this helpful

M.,

Any chance you can take him to the school now, show him his classroom, the building and such? Seeing everything with you by his side and knowing his is just there for a look may help.

L. M

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

have you taken him on atour of the school to meet his teacher and see the school?? Do that.. call the office and ask when you can come.. that may help.. try to find out if any of his friends will be in his class too..

1 mom found this helpful

Has he visited the school? Maybe you can call and ask if he can come and see his classroom, etc.

Tell him it is ok to be scared, everyone feels that way when they are starting something new.

I would just keep focusing on the positive and having fun getting ready for school--school supplies and clothes, etc. Try to walk him through his school day--where he will go and what he will do, sometimes the teacher will do this. Show him the school,have him meet as many kids as possible in his class, and his teachers.

I had to do this for my daughter, she gets very nervous with new experiences and the more she can see and plan out ahead of time, the less anxious and more she feels in control and can handle things. I have to do it less and less as she gets older, she has learned to do these things for herself.

I agreee with the other posters--you need to tell him it is ok and normal to be nervous, all the kids will be. You just need to model coping behaviors to him and remain un-phased by his nervousness--he is looking to you to see if he should be scared. Good luck. :)

1 mom found this helpful

Hi, M.--
So funny, I am sitting here and about an hour ago I just put my son on the bus for his first day of kindergarten! This is my first experience as well, and our sons are the same ages (6 in Oct). He was scared as well... but did just fine. He got on the bus and off he went! There are so many emotions (for us moms, too) that they are feeling, but once they get over this "hump" they will love it! Take it from a former kindergarten teacher, that first month or so can be rough---but, honestly, it was rare/never that I had a child who truly didn't LOVE kindergarten. Keep being positive, he'll get through it and absolutely love it. (I found that the orientation really helped, just to familiarize with the teacher, space and friends.) Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Let him bring a family picture with him. This worked great with our oldest. He was excited about school, but was afraid of the bus ride. He clenched that family picture every day for like a month until it was all wrinkled. But it helped him a lot! And put a note in his lunch box, "Mommy loves you" or whatever, to remind him that you're thinking of him. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

My son also is starting Tuesday. IF you are from Lincoln, and plan to attend the "meet the teacher" event Friday, ask around for Jimmy's mom. We will introduce them to oneanother and hope all goes well from there.
however, if you are not from Lincoln, make friends with another mom asap and work the same way.
in my opinion, that would work great! best wishes.

1 mom found this helpful

you might want to take him to the school for a tour and look around before the first day. ask if he can see the bus/sit on it with you for a few minutes also before the first day. teachers are usually in the classroom a day or so before the kids so maybe you can go then. have a 'trial run' of getting ready for school at home. plan a celebration of sorts for when he gets home the first day. good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

The only things I want to add are:

Kindergarten is about more than playgrounds - let him know there will be some structured activities too, in the classroom, and he's not gonig to be stuck there all day trying to figure out what to do.

Also, tell him you talked to all us moms, and that our kids were scared too and did well. Tell him some things other kids liked.

If he hasn't visited the school or seen his classroom, call the school - almost all schools have some open door days when incoming students can visit their classroom, meet their teacher, find out where the bus will drop them off and where they will go, etc.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

If you haven't, can you take him to the school in advance so that he can see where he will be? The teacher will most likely be there setting up. If this isn't possible, all I can say is that he will not be the only one scared and the teacher will be prepared.

1 mom found this helpful

Oh how I was in the same place last year! A great piece of advice a friend gave me - was to find a flat rock (I guess you could use anything - but we found some at the beach over the summer) and on one side we wrote my daughter's name and the other side we wrote "mommy". I told her to hold on to it when ever see felt scared (on the bus). Well we both rubbed the rock as we waited on day one for the bus. By day two - she said - let's just leave it in my backpack - I'm all set!!! If not a rock - maybe something special you could buy him like a key chain or small stuffed animal?? It's hard getting to the first day - but hopefully after a few days he will adjust and have a blast! Good luck!!!!!!

1 mom found this helpful

Any chance that you can go to the school before it starts and just walk around a bit? Usually at least the playground is open and you can take a picnic lunch there and have a nice bonding time there. Then once he's on his own, he'll have that little memory to help him out if he gets homesick. It will take the scary-factor out of it if he feels like its HIS school that he has happy memories at already. You could also follow it up with a trip to buy a snazzy back pack and go home and draw some pictures to give to his teacher (children love to give gifts). You can also put a little "love" in his new backpack to keep with him (a photo, a little stuffed animal etc). There is an AWESOME book about being scared to go to school and its called,"The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn and he'd love to hear it. Its about a little guy afraid to go to school and his mom tells him a magical secret...she kisses him on the hand and every time he feels nervous or scared at school he can take his hand out and put it on his cheek to feel mom's kiss on his cheek. Its a sweet story and really helps children know things will always be alright.

Keep up the positive guidance you've been doing, and in reminding him how much you love him and how excited you are for him to start school. He's going to have so much fun with new friends. His teacher is going to keep them all so busy with new exciting kindergarten activities that once he's there, he'll be fine. Its the anticipation of the day that gets to everyone (just like when an adult starts a new job, or goes back to college...it is scary!). I cried the day my daughter went to full-time kindergarten (and I was teaching there!!). Sometimes our little ones feel the anxiety we are having and get even more nervous.

Good luck with it all and have fun getting ready for this new wonderful journey!!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi M.,
Poor little thing, I'm sure you're just as anxious as he is seeing him like that.

Everyone has given great advice. The picture of the family is a good idea. Maybe also a stuffed animal or something small that gives him security in his little backpack you can tell him when he hugs the animal he can imagine he's hugging you.

Good luck. He'll be fine, you'll see.

1 mom found this helpful

Have you visited the school and the teacher? You may want to do that if you have not already done so. How about meeting other children from the class? Your child may feel more comfortable if he knows the people and surroundings better. You do not have much time left but I suggest visits. It is also not unusual for Kindergarten parents to spend part of the day with their children so you should talk to the teacher about doing this. Good Luck

B. O

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter is in the same boat. It actually makes her feel better when she hears her friend say she's scared too. Sometimes it's normal to be scared, and he may just want to hear, "That's normal. But once you get there and play on the playgrounds, you'll stop being scared." I got my daughter some books about starting kindergarten. In them all, it is mentioned how the child starts out scared at first. You might try some books - but I advise you to be careful. The kindergarten of olden days is not what it is today. Today it is more like first grade, so be sure not to pick an "old" book that depicts kindergarten more like a preschool where kids just play all day long. The good news is that this will all go away once he starts school next week. (I know that seems a long time away.) Another thought - call the school and ask if you can take a tour. He might feel better being more familiar with the building, knowing where the bathroom is, etc..Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

HI M.,

Have you asked him WHAT is making him scared? Perhaps if you can help him pinpoint some of his fears you can help focus in on those and help him to overcome them....perhaps it is not knowing his teacher, not familiar with the school, not knowing who is in his class or how the day is structured. My son is entering kindergarten this year as well and we have an orientation next week to meet his teacher ahead of time. If your school doesnt offer that, maybe its something you can try and work out with the teacher - or as others have suggested, arrange a time for you to go to the school ahead of time and show him around as much as possible.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Maybe you could take him to see the school? Fear of the unknown is very powerful for anyone. There are some really good books about starting kindergarten. Miss Bindergarten teaches Kindergarten comes to mind. Maybe you could check out your local library. Lots of positive talk, just like you've been doing is great. I'm sure your little guy will be just fine as soon as he gets there and the unknown is over!

1 mom found this helpful

M.,

Any chance you can take him to the school now, show him his classroom, the building and such? Seeing everything with you by his side and knowing his is just there for a look may help.

L. M

1 mom found this helpful

Touring the school and playground is a great idea, maybe start planning on what he'd like to bring in for his birthday (pick cupcakes, color of frosting etc, build that up) Kids love to be the ones who get to bring in treats for their friends.

1 mom found this helpful

I would take a visit to the school so he can see where his classroom is if he hasnt already. Otherwise, everything you are doing sounds good. The thing is, I know it is hard for both of you right now, but after that 1st, 2nd and 3rd day, you may just find he LOVES school and cant wait to go back!!! Hang in there!!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi- Starting kindergarten is such a big day for Mom and child alike- at least it was for us. My daughter was the same way last year... Fortunately, the school did have a drop by and visit morning before the school year officially began. that helped. if they don't offer that- perhaps you could at least stop by, look at the playground, and become familiar with the place- expressing enthusiasm all the while of course. Does your son know any of the kids in his class. It would be great if he could have a play date or two before school starts so he has someone to be brave with.. and lastly, can he also have a big kid to ride the bus with- who I would also try to meet ahead of time.
You could also send something to remind him of you - with him to school. This could be a little note- also check out the book "the kissing hand" the mom gives a kiss in the middle of the boy's hand and tells him this is her kiss to take with him...
Best of luck... M.

1 mom found this helpful

,y 5 yr old started full day kind yesterday and it went great. We had talked about his concerns etc b-4 hand and when they had an open house the kids got to ask the teacher about their concerns. Most kids had questions such as can I go to the bathroom, when do we eat etc. I think that helped alot, try to get your son to relax. Sometimes when you talk too much about something and dwell on it they get very anxious. He do fine and in a week he'll be a pro at school! Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

Other moms have made great suggestions- many of which I would recommend. Try to visit school, The Kissing Hand book and others about kindergarten, special object, etc.
My son started kindergarten today! The first week of school is all about teaching kids routines and getting to know each other. Reassure him that his teacher will show him where everything is (like bathrooms, where to eat, etc) and she will make sure he gets home safely. Luckily, I teach at my son's school, so he's familiar and knows I'm not far away. But for kids who don't have that safety net, fear of the unknown can definitely be intimidating. Tell him he doesn't need to know what to do at all times; his teacher will help him through his day.
Goodluck to mommy and the little guy!

1 mom found this helpful

Some great advice -- which I, too, will try! My 5-yr-old son begins Kindergarten next week and is also very nervous!

I also recommend the book, The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn. It's a sweet idea of a mom kissing her child's hand (actually, they're raccoons!), so the child has some motherly love with him even when Mom is not around. My kids love to do "The Kissing Hand" when starting new things or when we'll be separated -- and they even do it for each other! Too cute!

Good luck!! Stay strong!!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi M.,

You've already gotten so many great ideas from the moms on this list, so I only want to stress what one of the other moms suggested. Try to find out what exactly your child fears or what he imagines kindergarten will be like. Who knows, he may have seen something upsetting on TV, or maybe he's heard something from another child. I loved the suggestion to see if maybe he can have a play date with a child or two who will be in his class so when he gets there he will already have a "friend". Maybe he's afraid of leaving you and fears that YOU won't be okay. Ask HIM what would make him feel better when he goes off to school that first day. Maybe you can give him a "special assignment". For instance, perhaps you can buy him a disposable camera and ask him to take a picture of his class or of his teacher or the classroom so that he can bring it home to show you. You'd have to arrange this beforehand with his teacher.

When my son was going into 3rd grade I switched him to another school. He wasn't very happy to be leaving all his friends. On the first day of school, his teacher gave him a little tape recorder and gave him a special job. He was to interview several of the teacher about their summer vacation. Man, did he feel special and important. Doing something like this might shift his attention from his worries to his new assignment.

Also, it might be helpful to have him talk to a first grader who has already "graduated" form kindergarten. Sometimes hearing from a peer might have more of an impact than all the grown-ups trying to reassure him.

Good luck to both of you. Let us know how it goes.

V. S, LICSW

1 mom found this helpful

Aww, he sounds so cute! Let us know how the first day goes (I love the kissing hand thing that others told you) and another idea is to say to him "I will have a present waiting for you when you get back from school!" And he will say "What?! I want it now!" and you can say: "No, I have to buy it that day, while you are at school. I am going to keep myself busy on your first day of school, because I will miss you too. So this will give me something to do. We both will be getting used to this exciting part of your life as you start to go to school!" Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

There is a great book called "The Kissing Hand" that deals with that exact issue. My daughter loves it!

1 mom found this helpful

I was happy to see all the good advice you have been given. My children were also scared that first day of school but upon arrival home, they were happy and excited to share all they learned that day.

As a kindergarten teacher myself, I just went through the first day of kindergarten with my students. The week prior we'd had a 'meet and greet' and almost all my students showed up. On the first day it isn't uncommon for parents to bring their child to school and walk them in, help them find their cubby and hook and get settled in the room....10 mins tops. I had one cryer who was just nervous and within 5 mins of her parents leaving she was fine.

We read the kissing hand, Chester left us a note which took us on a scavenger hunt for paws around the building and into all the important rooms we'd need to know about(music, tech, lunch, principal, nurse etc...) When we arrived back at our class there was a special gift (magic prediction playdough) and when we played with it it changed color letting us know that we'd have a wonderful year in Kindergarten. They played, noticed things they'd had in preschool and throughly enjoyed themselves.
The first day is more play, some rules, some sight seeing and some routine building. We get more academic as the weeks go by.
Good luck to you and your son... enjoy!!
L.

1 mom found this helpful

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