1. Show them the ropes If your child did not attend Kindergarten, the first thing you need to do to get your child ready for first grade is to prepare your child mentally and emotionally for what will be expected of them once school starts. They should understand the basics of the classroom before they are ever seated in front of the teacher – raising their hands, following instructions, staying seated, etc. Even if they have been to Kindergarten, it’s not a bad idea to give them a refresher on how you want them to behave, and if they were on shorter days as Kindergarteners, it’s not a bad idea to prepare them for the longer hours.
2. Meet the teacher Before school starts, try to meet with his or her teacher and, if possible, find out the curriculum, at least for the first few weeks. This will help you and your child in two ways. First, getting to know your child’s teacher early can be of benefit later, if any issues arise such as illness, behavior problems or the like. Second, you and your child can do some mock problems in preparation for what will be taught in school to give your first grader a jump start and make sure s/he doesn’t fall behind.
3. Stranger Danger They probably already know not to talk to strangers, but have a plan in place for emergency situations when you might not be able to come get them, such as giving the emergency pick-up person a code word to let your child know it’s safe to get in the car.
4. Talk to them about other kids Even if they’ve been to school before, it’s a good idea to talk to them about how to handle teasing and bullying. You probably know your child better than anyone, so you should know whether you need to tell them not to do it or how to react if it happens to them.
5. Get them out of the house If they’ve never really been to daycare or preschool, it really helps to have you children spend some time away from you before sending them off to school for the first time. Your instinct may be to cling to them and spend as much time as possible, but in the end, it will be easier on you both if you get used to the separation a little ahead of time.
6. Sit them down If your child is hyperactive, it could be useful to buy a desk and have them sit in it for longer and longer periods each day to get them used to sitting still for extended lengths of time.
7. Teach them to read These days, your child needs to be able to read at least a few words before they start Kindergarten, so make sure, if your children are starting first grade, they are prepared with at the very least some basic reading skills.
8. Make them maintain the 5 foot perimeter Make sure your child knows about covering his or her mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing (and that coughing or sneezing into the elbow is better), washing their hands after coughing, sneezing or bathroom breaks, keeping their distance from other children who are sick, and about not sharing hairbrushes or combs. This should cut down on your child’s sick days considerably.
9. Mind their P’s and Q’s Make sure they know basic manners, like saying “Please”, “Thank you”, and “Excuse me” as well as other ways to be polite, such as not cutting in line and waiting their turn.
10. Let them know who’s boss Make sure your child understands that if they have a problem, you are there for them. Whether it is bullying, learning problems, teasing or anything else, they should know that they can turn to you, no matter what anyone else tells them. Don’t be afraid to talk to them about what bad adults or kids might say to convince them not to talk to you, so that they won’t be tricked into keeping mum.