Depending on where you live in the Willamette Valley, it’s possible that your child has already started kindergarten or is just on the brink of the first day of school. An entire school day may last anywhere between 6 to 6+ hours for your young child. Yes, 6 hours sounds like a lot of kid-free time to get things done around the house, run errands, or squeeze in a quick jog outside. Or let’s be honest, to just sit down and take a breather! However, it’s important to remember that while your little ones are safe in the hands of their kindergarten teacher, they are learning brand new routines that may very well coincide or even clash with routines already established in your home. Here are some examples:
Let’s pretend that prior to kindergarten, you made every effort to have your child spend playtime outside (weather permitting) before lunch. Or, let’s pretend that your child used to having an afternoon snack at home each day. Depending on your child’s kindergarten schedule, it’s possible that your child won’t be scheduled for outdoor time until the end of the day or none at all due to inclement weather. Moreover, many kindergarten classes do not regularly offer an afternoon snack to grumbling tummies. A simple solution is to gather information from your child’s teacher about the layout of the day and to ask for tips on how to help ease your child into similar routines at home. The more “in sync” the home routine can be with the school routine, the easier the transition for your child. Basically, parent-teacher communication is critical for student success.
Ask your child’s teacher for a copy of the daily schedule. You’ll be able to take the schedule home and troubleshoot potential challenges throughout the day for your child. Or better yet, anticipate fun activities. Make sure to be familiar with the school’s handbook on drop off and pick up routines, inclement weather plans, and recess times. Some schools vary their recess times based on the weather forecast. Have your teacher share with you particular phrases used throughout the daily routine. Some kindergarten teachers do a call and response of, “Kindergarten!” and the children respond, “Superstars!” to have their attention.
It’s best practice to have some consistency between home and school routines. However, keep in mind that home is still a different environment and to honor and uphold particular family routines. If home turns into too much like school, your child may not be feel safe or comfortable enough to have that unconditional “do nothing” time or freedom to just zonk out. Sometimes too much routine will feel like “too much” to a young child.
The Parenting Hub would love to hear how you maintain parent-teacher communication with your child’s school. Please send your comments and questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.