First Day of School

Kickstarter

Experience #1: Independence at Home

It is important to feel needed and know we’re making a contribution. Each person in the family has a different role to play. Chores at home give a child a sense of worth and belonging. Doing chores around the house help children learn to place other’s needs above our own. When you look at Jesus, you see the perfect picture of someone who came to serve. Read Philippians 2:3-11 together and talk about how Jesus is a servant. Children at the age of 4 and 5 are perfectly capable of helping around the house. Maybe you have already given your child some chores around the house, but if not, this is a great time to do so.

There are a few things to remember when it comes to setting your child up for successful independence at home with chores:

  1. Choose developmentally appropriate chores. (Do not ask your preschooler to put up the glass dishes in the top cabinet.) Preschool children can help make beds, set tables, put up clean clothes, and even help with making dinner.
  2. Realize they won’t do it exactly like you do. (It’s ok if the bed has a few wrinkles in it! Praise children for their efforts and they will continue to grow in their abilities over time.)
  3. Be consistent. If you want your child to make his/her bed, make sure that’s expected every day. If you make their bed some days, and expect your child to make their bed other days, it sends inconsistent messages to your child about what he/she needs to do.
  4. Show your child exactly what you want them to do. (Model a chore for children a few times. Your son or daughter may not think to clean off the top of the dresser. If that’s important to you, make sure you show your child exactly what you mean by “clean your room.”)
  5. Once again, provide grace and remember the goal. Your goal isn’t really getting the chore done your way. Your ultimate goal is teaching independence and responsibility through the act of doing chores. You will need to remind and model as they develop this new habit.

See the resources section to find ways to help celebrate the transition of your preschooler to Kindergarten.

Experience #2: Independence with Friends

As parents, we have the opportunity to set our children up for success with their friendships by helping them to be independent in social situations. The Bible gives us wisdom on how to help our children choose friends. Read Proverbs 13:20 together which says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm.” As you talk with your child about choosing friends ask them, “Does _________ make wise choices?” Your child may not be able to decipher if a person is wise, but they’ll know whether or not that person makes wise choices.

We also want our child to be a good friend to others. Read John 15:12-17 together. Jesus says here that a good friend loves and is willing to lay down his life for another (putting the needs of another above our own). Remind your children to choose friends well and choose to be a good friend. Start early to set them up for success with their friendships.

Experience #3: Personal Independence

What types of activities can your child do on their own?

  • Can he tie his shoes?
  • Can she zip the zipper?
  • Can he open his juice box?
  • Can she go to the bathroom by herself?
  • Can he find his way to the classroom?

These are good questions to ask when assessing whether or not our child is ready for kindergarten. Check with your child’s school for a list of Kindergarten requirements prior to enrolling them.

Teaching them to tie their shoes may take a while, but reminding them to keep going and not give up is a large part of growing up and being independent. Perseverance is important to help your child learn to do things on their own. Modeling a positive attitude shows children that they can keep going and eventually, succeed! Read Colossians 3:23-24 together which says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.” Take some time to evaluate what activities your child needs to practice and work together for success in these areas!

Resources

Here are ways to celebrate your pre-Kindergarten child as their first day of school approaches! Pick activities that interest your child. Make them feel special by creating a day full of different things to get them excited about starting school!

Idea #1: Celebrate the independence of your preschooler by letting him/her know she is ready for kindergarten with a gift he/she can use at school.

  • Most elementary schools hold an open house so it would be fun to give your child their special gift at this event!
  • This item could be a new backpack, lunchbox, sleep mat, or pencil bag. (It would be great to have this item personalized. Consider storing it away after their first semester or year of school. This is a great memory for parents to treasure as well as grown children to reminisce about.)

Idea #2: Another way to make this moment special is to have family and friends text a video message to your child. You can collect all these on your phone and share them on their first day or when you present them with their school gift. The video message can include a kindergarten memory from that person or encouragement to your child as they get ready to enter kindergarten. You can send your friends and family an email/text saying,

“To honor _____________ as he/she gets ready for kindergarten will you take a minute to send him/her a video of you telling a story from your kindergarten year OR a video encouraging him/her as he/ she gets ready for kindergarten? We are so excited about this milestone in their life and would love for you to celebrate with us!”

If these videos are texted to you, you can show them to your child from your phone. If emailed, you can put them all together in a file on your computer to show your child. These videos will provide great encouragement as your child gets ready for this journey toward independence.

Other ideas for fun activities to utilize:

  • Make their favorite breakfast and enjoy it with them.
  • Take them school clothes and supply shopping.
  • Gather pictures from the day they were born to the present. Make a picture book together.
  • Present your child with a new backpack or lunch box.
  • Go to “meet the teacher” night.
  • Travel the route to and from school with your child.
  • Have play-dates with other children in their class.
  • Make a paper chain to count down to the first day of school and pray for each day leading up to it. • Go on family picnics and let your child eat out of their new school lunchbox to practice.
  • Read books about Kindergarten or the first day of school:
  • Countdown to Kindergarten, by Allison McGhee
  • Kindergarten Rocks, by Katie Davis
  • The Night Before Kindergarten, by Natasha Wing
  • Mom, It's My First Day of Kindergarten, by Hyewon Yum
  • Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!, Nancy Carlson
  • Adventure Annie Goes to Kindergarten, by Toni Buzzeo
  • Kindergarten, Here I Come!, by D.J. Steinberg
  • Welcome to Kindergarten, by Anne Rockwell
  • Off to Kindergarten, by Tony Johnston
  • Go to the school they will attend to play on the playground.
  • Allow them to pick out some yummy treats for snack or lunchtime.
  • Create a stepping-stone with a kit from a craft store. Place the date and your child’s handprint on the stone and then allow them to decorate their stone how they wish.
  • Take a "First Day" of Kindergarten Picture. Follow up with a "Last Day" of Kindergarten Picture.
  • Decorate a picture frame for their First Day of Kindergarten Picture.
  • Create a memory box (pick out and decorate) for all of the crafts and fun things they will bring home from Kindergarten.

Downloadable Content:

First Day of School Milestone PDF