Kindergarten… the moment when you must learn to let (them) go
The subject of back to school seems to be everywhere in recent days and it's not surprising! This is quite the milestone for toddlers making the leap into the big kids' club.
How do we know if our toddler is ready? From the emotional rollercoaster of watching our kids make friends, eat their lunch, and succeed at independence—all while we miss them like crazy—it’s hard to know where to begin with getting our kids prepared. Here are our top 5 tips to start this new adventure on the right foot!
1 - Talk about it to reassure (each other)
It is as important for you as it is for your child to fully understand this new stage and to be reassured about what to expect. Be curious about what they are going through in the first few weeks and stay tuned and available to receive their feelings. That way, you will be able to help and support them in all the aspects they really need it.
2 - Stay clean… even outside home
Make sure your toddler is comfortable using their public-school bathroom. If you’re not already doing so, take advantage of every opportunity when you're out and about to build up their confidence and ability to use toilets other than your home. Encourage them to wipe themself and wash their hands well and (the hardest part) trust that they did well.
This also applies to their runny noses! To prevent your little one from being uncomfortable, wiping themselves with their sleeves or risking infections like conjunctivitis (how awful), slip them a small pocket pack of tissues in their backpack and help your child get in the habit of blowing or wiping their noses often. Even if it's every two minutes.
3 - Dressing themself - an essential skill
Accidents happen. If your child can dress alone, they can change independently in the event of an accident. You can make your children’s life easier (as well as their teacher’s) by choosing clothes with elastic waistbands over those with buttons and zippers. For shoes, go for a Velcro closure. On weekends, encourage them to play with a Montessori activity board and help them reinforce their lacing and buttoning skills.
4 - A practical and fun lunch box
You must believe it, a Bento-style box will make life easier for the whole family! You'll love preparing a meal for him in a single container (only one dish to clean... what a joy!) and your toddler will be happy to be able to dip here and there according to his appetite and his desires. Psst! Insert a second small Tupperware in the backpack for the morning snack.
If you bought a new lunch box, make sure your little one can use it easily. Should you organize a small picnic with your child this weekend to test it? What a fun idea!
5- The method: I do, we do, you do
This method is our favorite to help him acquire new skills in a simple and effective way while encouraging his autonomy. First, you show them how to do it—hand-over-hand or verbally encouraging them. Then have your toddler do it independently in front of you. Do not hesitate to guide and encourage them during this time. Finally, they should be able to perform the skill on their own, without any support from you. Encourage them to practice by asking them to teach this new skill to their favorite plush toy or even to dad.
As you can see, adjusting to a new routine is a matter of confidence. Children must have confidence in themselves and their skills to feel free and independent... And you, parents, must have confidence that you have done everything in your power to raise a skilled child. Let them thrive in this challenging new environment...and you'll be glad you did when it comes time to place an order on that first-class photo.
PS. Everything will be alright!