If you have a child starting Kindergarten, whether it’s’ you first, second, third or even fourth child, there are going to be obstacles for you both to overcome, and what those obstacles are might not become exactly clear until you are a few weeks into the term.

As your child adapts to a new space with new rules and expectations and starts to form new friendships they will also start to experience a range of emotions; excitement, anxiety, sadness, or anger to name a few.

Kellie Thomas, mother of six-year-old Jake who starts first class this year admits that “it was hard to let him go but by the end it was hard to keep him.” This would be an emotion that many first time parents would go through. When you think about it, your child starting school also means that you’re creating a new routine for both you and your child, and like any new routine, there are going to be new things to get used to and some of these things may not necessarily be welcomed or feel comfortable. Never the less, it’s good to hear that it’s all a settling in period that you and your child will both adapt to and it will become part of your normal routine.

It’s important to remember that each child is different and will cope with the changes and express these emotions towards the changes in different ways, helping them to identify their emotions will go a long way in helping them to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Primary school teacher and mother of three, Bec Thomas, suggests “don’t show your child that you are sad or worried because they will pick up on your emotions. Instead, enjoy the little steps along the way, be excited about them with your child, enjoy and focus on the positive aspects with them. Trust your teacher, talk to them and really listen to them.”

Preschool director and father of two, Joe Purcell also recommends focusing on the positives and having conversations with your child that encourage them to be confident in who they are “praise your child for everything they have learnt from their teacher. But also, empower your child to learn everything the teacher won’t teach them. Such as how it’s ok to be you, even if no one is sitting with you or how to interact with others and make the world a better place when no adults are around.”

 

If you sense that your child is upset but not willing to talk, we suggest participating in one of their favourite quite time experiences with them, free from noise or distraction from screens. Activities such as art and craft, engineering or puzzles, allow your child to keep their hands busy and their mind ticking over, this is often a great time for them to start asking you questions or talking about their worries or concerns while they are distracted with what is in front of them.

Another great idea is to write a story with your child. Together you can draw pictures and write down all the things that happen throughout the school day, this may support your child in feeling more aware and in control of what will be happening each day at school. Include what day your child wears their sports uniform, library day, their teachers name, where they sit for lunch, or any other details that are important to your child.