Four tips to help your child transition to first grade

By Danielle Harris

AUGUSTA, GA. – School is back in session and some parents may already be finding the move from kindergarten to first grade has turned out to be a big transition for their children. However, Dr. Beth Pendergraft, Early Childhood Coordinator in Georgia Regents University’s Department of Teacher Education, says it’s not too late to boost your child’s academic and emotional confidence.

“The sudden introduction of new skills and responsibilities of first grade can be an exciting yet stressful experience for both the child and their parents,” Pendergraft said. “However, if parents can remain positive and patient with their child along with keeping open communication with the teacher, it will help everyone get a good grip on this new journey.”

To help your child’s transition to first grade be a little easier, Dr. Pendergraft offers the following tips:

1. Talk about it. Talk to your child’s teacher to find out what skills will be taught throughout the school year and incorporate those concepts in a few of the daily routines with your family. In addition, spend time giving your child an idea of what they might expect in class including activities, tests and even the new friends they will make.

2. Food for thought. Research shows a connection between what your child eats and how well he or she performs in school. So feed your child’s brain by choosing nutritious foods that will help with their ability to focus and thrive academically. Be sure to also establish solid bedtime and morning routines to help your child adjust to this new change in their life.

3. Encourage independence. First grade is more than just reading, writing and doing math. This stage of your child’s development is about helping them discover how to be self-sufficient. As your child finishes one task, reward them for their efforts and encourage them to work on a new task. Always reinforce the “you can do it” approach.

4. Be involved. The life of a parent can be busy. But remember, being involved with your child’s life at school is just as important as being involved with them at home. So continue to communicate with your child’s teachers for curriculum updates and for details regarding his or her progress. You should also be aware of the lessons in case you want to include supplemental activities at home with your child.

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