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Starting Kindergarten

Starting Kindergarten

Text by Karin Waldhauser

Starting Kindergarten

Recently, my twins started their last year of primary school.

How did that happen? I swear it was five minutes ago that I walked them to their first day of kindergarten. Feeling a little nostalgic, I took out their memory boxes. In them, I found something that reminded me of our kindergarten morning routine, which I think is worth passing on.

Starting kindergarten is a significant milestone, especially for children who aren’t used to getting up and being somewhere at the same time every morning, which was the case for my twins. Suddenly we had to be organised and out the door every morning – not my strong point.

After a few chaotic mornings, however, we slowly got into a routine (or as much of one as possible with two four-year-olds), and things started to go more smoothly.

Routines

For instance, my daughter needed to see her clothes laid out the previous night to minimise morning tantrums. I soon learned that although that sounded good in theory, she was just as likely to wake up and reject the selected garment. The workaround was to have a couple of choices ready, and she could mix and match as she pleased.

Also, to encourage independence in the mornings, we used a visual checklist.

I printed out separate photos of the children with their snack boxes, drink bottles, toothbrushes, gym bags, hairbrushes, and shoes. We kept the images in envelopes in the kitchen, and I would set them out every morning. Once they had completed a task, they would put the picture back in the envelope.

The beauty of this approach is that it gave them the independence of doing everything in an order that suited them. At the same time, I attained peace of mind knowing that the children had done everything without having to nag them. Nonetheless, we couldn’t avoid all morning meltdowns, which helped avoid many of them.

One of the biggest things I had to get used to was the amount of footwear the children needed for school. They each had: indoor slippers, gym shoes, rain boots, and forest day shoes or boots.

Additionally, the kids needed to be able to get everything on and off by themselves. Consequently, we sometimes tried to put things on and off at home a few times. This helped the children – they did not have to ask the teachers to help them with complicated buttons or oddly placed zips.

Starting Kindergarten

Each kindergarten will have its own rules and preferences.

Some are stricter than others when it comes to snacks and clothing. These rules may or may not suit the more stubborn children, as we learned when explaining the ‘no tutus’ rule to my daughter. Apart from more apparent limitations, a friend’s kindergarten had a ‘no bananas’ rule. Yet another had a ‘no salty snacks’ rule. Sometimes you have to go with the flow.

Good luck to all of you out there getting into new routines.

 

 

 


 

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