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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We've read books, watched TV shows and talked about it, but DD does not want to go to kindergarten. She went to daycare from birth to 3 and then went to pre-school last year, but we took a year off. She says she just wants to stay home. How do I prepare her? She gets so upset anytime someone mentions kindergarten. She doesn't want to talk about first day outfits or pick out backpacks or lunchboxes. Anyone else go through this?
 

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When's her birthday? Many kids get "red-shirted" and stay back one more year. If she has a late summer or early fall birthday, she's already on the cusp of the cut off for most public schools.

OR

Any chance she has a peer/playmate who would be going? Maybe getting them together for a school shopping date would be a nudge for her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
When's her birthday? Many kids get "red-shirted" and stay back one more year. If she has a late summer or early fall birthday, she's already on the cusp of the cut off for most public schools.

OR

Any chance she has a peer/playmate who would be going? Maybe getting them together for a school shopping date would be a nudge for her.
She has an April birthday and I'm not sure if waiting a year will help things. I like the idea of a school shopping date. She has a cousin that's starting kindergarten, but at another school. It still may be a help.
 

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I think this is about fear of the unknown, not school readiness. Once she sees it (and hopefully it's a good school) she may fall in love. Out school has the first day of K where the parent can stay and it's only about an hour long. Look into your school and what their plan is. Most schools have already planned for first day jitters.

In the meantime, the date is good. New school supplies are always fun and maybe a new outfit for the first day. Get some books from the library. There's plenty about the 1st day of K/school. Get some shows at the library or YouTube. A good cartoon can tackle the problem and maybe help her process it. Also, you can have friends and family tell her about their first days of school.

Do you think you know why she's reticent? Maybe work that exact issue into a story. You can be playing with her stuffed animals/dolls whatever and act out the problem.

Just ideas. Let us know how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
holeschooling for alittle?
We did consider homeschooling, but with a new baby coming, I'm not sure I could properly teach her and handle a newborn. I also really have no desire. Maybe that sounds selfish? I do think once she starts, she's going to love it. If she really, really hates it, then I'd consider homeschooling, but I'd have to see why.

Thank you to everyone who has replied. My sister has agreed that we should go out and do a little back to school date in a couple of weeks. I don't really know why she doesn't want to go. She said that she didn't want to leave me, but I pointed out that sometimes we have to be apart for other things and then she said, she just didn't like other kids (even though she has tons of friends from church, different activities we attend, etc.). The answer changes depending on the day or who asks her. Like last night DH asked her when she told him and she said it was because when the new baby came she wanted to help out. I think it's just because it's all so new for her. I mentioned that we're going to go shopping with her aunt and cousin in a few weeks and she seemed okay with that idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I looked into our school and there seems to be 2 days. On day one, they go in and see the classroom. We can stay for as long or for as little as we want. It's more of a way to meet the teachers, see where everything goes and what have you. Then the second day is drop off, but I heard they're a little lenient on parents staying if needed, which is great. DH said when DSS started, his school wasn't that great at transitioning.
 

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It sounds like your school has a good plan in place. Look at what the PTA has in place, too. Mine does a "One Smart Cookie" event which is just a party where everyone brings cookies to share. There are other back to school sorts of activities. Our local downtown has a party and I think the library does things too. So, look around to see what fun activities you can find surrounding the start of school.

In the meantime, I might let the topic drop. Maybe quit bringing it up. If she brings it up, talk about it in a matter of fact kind of way. But the constant questioning/ reminding may be adding to her anxiety. (Or maybe not. You know your dd best.) So, sometimes a period of not talking about it can be helpful.
 

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not uncommon

These replies are all great.

My son was really anxious about starting Kinder, too. It began the spring before, because adults were talking about Next Year, and Graduation, and all kinds of things that signal the Unknown and Change. It was just too early to talk about it. Here are some of the things we went through, and did, to address his anxiety.

I would not really hammer it right now. Tell her it's a little ways off, you'll have lots of time together, and right now we'll play and later we'll worry about school.

And also I would focus mainly on Your Connection With Her. My son is going into First, and he still has needy times DAILY where he says, "I Just Want Mommy." So focus on ways you can do that, even if it's only 10min at a time. As adults we can rationalize out a lot of things about the school day, but it's easy for us to say after 13 years of education. Just ask how she is feeling, and repeat back her words so she knows you understand, and hear her.

Teach her about taking long, slow ocean breaths (3-5) when things feel Big. Gives her time to figure stuff out.

Call the school and ask to tour the classroom early. Ask the teacher for the schedule for the day. Take pix of EVERYTHING and make a little Shutterfly book, or just glue the pix to papers in a 3-ring binder. This is where you'll hang your jacket. This is where you'll put your lunch bag. This is where the potty is. This is where you'll talk about the day at circle time. Here's where you'll have snack. This is where you'll have art class on Tuesdays. Here's where Mommy (babysitter/Daddy/etc.) will pick you up every day.

Include familiar people in the pix, helpers. Teacher, secretary, principal, yard assistant, etc.

See if you can do a group picnic at the park with the class (potluck -- or the cookie idea is great), and exchange numbers so you could do a playdate or two before school, or at least in Sept right after it starts. Being able to find a couple of familiar faces can make a world of difference, especially if your child is of the quiet sort (and if she is, I highly recommend the book Quiet, about introverts. It's great.)

As Xerxella said, When it gets closer, try storytelling that will build confidence, and may or may not be directly about school. You can make them up, or search the Helping Healing stories at www.sparklestories.com (topics: back to school, worry, anxiety, courage).

My son picked out a large (and somewhat tacky, LOL) locket at Joann, and we put pictures of him with each parent in it, for the first day of school. We also created a Treasure Bag. --Actually, this was his idea, to give as a gift for his older cousin, who also was starting a new school with no friends. He chose a heart necklace, and put in some plastic gems, and glitter pompoms and other little treasures that kids would like, and we sent it to her to appear magically in her backpack in a cloth bag, with a card from him. Of course, he wanted one too, so I made one for him and he opened it on the playground the first day.

I also made sure to put a note in his lunch every day -- usually a note with a joke in it, so that it would be a way to bring others at the table together and start talking. Later in the year you could try Chat Pack cards, or the Melissa and Doug Pie cards.

I give him kisses in his hands that he can press into his heart and save all day. The Kissing Hand book talks about that. The Invisible String is another good book. Focusing on the connection.

Later, he still needed support and his teachers allowed him to carry his Beanie Boo with him in a water bottle bag (cross body--I sewed it) all day. It made him feel more secure, and the cross-body feeling gave him proprioceptive support. An OT suggested that I could put a small beanbag in the bottom of the bag, to give it a little more heft and increase that "hugging" feeling. Sometimes he likes to wear his Emergency Worker vest (Ikea), or a winter beanie hat, I think for the same reason--it's a little snug.

Don't be hesitant to meet with teachers early and often for the little tweaks that will help your kid. A good teacher will want to know the tricks that work, and will offer ideas and support through the day.

As the year goes on, you can make books with her about the school day, especially things that trouble her. Just fold a paper in half. The book should be entirely her words, verbatim, even if it doesn't make sense to you. This can help her process what she sees and feels.
http://www.echoparenting.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/empathy-book-toolkit.pdf

Our school has a Reading Buddy program where the kinders get paired with a third or fourth grader for the year, and read with them weekly. This was amazing for my son, because his reading buddy was a perfect match for him! It really helped through the year: a new familiar face on the playground.

Most kdgs are full day, and I think this is a huge problem for the quiet kids. It's just too long a day. I wrestled with a lot of my son's struggles throughout the kdg year that related to the day just being too much about school, despite being at a school with lots of play time. I think at this age they need more free play and time to decompress and the full day doesn't offer that (though it's ideal for parents who work outside the home). So be prepared to spend lots of snuggly, attentive, one-on-one time with your daughter this year. She might need it. I also found bedtimes to be very difficult, as it's yet another separation from you during the day. Starting earlier and extending the snuggle / reading / storytelling time seemed to help.

Good luck--it's a rough ride and it will be complicated when Baby comes and your attention from her is split. (I've heard the Laura Markham book on siblings is good-- and her e-newsletter is amazing http://www.ahaparenting.com/peaceful-parent-happy-siblings ).
 

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I felt like there was a lot of pressure on the kids to absolutely love kindergarten. It seems to make it even harder for kids that are feeling nervous or ambivalent. You've gotten lots of good advice here, so I would just add to try to keep the kindergarten discussion real, because, honestly, it's not always that awesome. Not to be a Debbie downer, but with a new sibling coming along as well, it may just be a really hard year. If I were you I would try hard to load up on support for your family time so you can be as available as possible for your daughter going through these transitions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you all for the advice. I have dropped the subject for now and have asked family to do the same (they're all very excited for her to start), which I think will help and I'll look into all that was advised. I agree kindergarten isn't always fun either, though I really don't want to go into the real hard stuff with her, as I don't think it'll help and will just stress her out more. Though I do plan on talking to her about it as it comes up. We do have a lot of family support thankfully, so if needed, I'll still be able to get there and be there for her.
 

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Poor kiddo! It's a big leap to go from a "little kids" place like preschool to a "big kids" place like elementary, where everyone is bigger than you and it sounds overwhelming. DS went had some big nerves last fall, too, going from his small Montessori straight into the 1st grade at a new school. He was really excited, but also really anxious.

DS is pretty outgoing and social so it really helped him to know some other kids. He got to know one other kid in his grade before school started (through 4-H), and that was nice. (Though the two of them together were so wild we all requested they not be in the same class.) We also went to play at the school playground over the summer. Not sure what your school is like--ours is kind of rural but there are still sometimes kids on the playground to play with. Is there any way you could find some kids locally for her to get to know before the first day?

Most teachers don't have access to their classrooms over the summer and may not even get the set up more than a day or 2 before the year starts, but I'd be sure to attend any open houses. During the summer, our local school opens the library for 2 hours every Wednesday. Our old school had "playdates at the park" every other week in the summer so new families could go and meet some local kids.
 

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I was a year younger than my fellow kindergarteners and it made me very anxious to be the youngest kid around. So my mom and dad would come and hang out with me for the first few weeks until I had made friends and felt comfortable enough to be there on my own. Might be worth doing, it worked for me
 

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I would just stop talking about it. My son would always be nervous about new places, and I would try to prepare him by talking about it. That never helped, so I recently started not talking about a new place or thing that he would be doing (most recently day camp) until the day before or the morning he was going. That worked out so much better, as he doesn't have any time to think about all the things he thinks he needs to worry about. The end result is always the same: he has fun on the first day and can't wait to go back.
 
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We've read books, watched TV shows and talked about it, but DD does not want to go to kindergarten. She went to daycare from birth to 3 and then went to pre-school last year, but we took a year off. She says she just wants to stay home. How do I prepare her? She gets so upset anytime someone mentions kindergarten. She doesn't want to talk about first day outfits or pick out backpacks or lunchboxes. Anyone else go through this?
Perhaps she isn't scared of kindergarten at all, and she just really wants to spend time with you. If that is what she needs, one option might be to un-school her for a bit. It might be a nice opportunity for her to bond with the new baby as well. If it is time with you she is wanting, that option could also help alleviate and help smooth over any feelings of jealousy that could arise from feeling that now the new baby is getting your attention all the time while she is away at school all day.

While that might sound like a scary option, unschoolers actually tend to excel developmentally, and it is worth checking out the subject to see if it might be a solution for your little girl. I think there is a forum here, and also Amazon has some excellent books. As for state requirements, unschoolers can register with an umbrella school that allows unschooling, and which will meet schooling requirements of most states. Also, using an umbrella school you can set it up to facilitate being able to transfer her directly into first or second grade or whatever level she's at when she's ready to go to public school.

Just a thought.
All the best,
Mamalari
 
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