Tips for those heading to all-day kindergarten

- Finally going to school all day long is a rite of passage, but back to school may rise some separation anxiety and worry. Here are a few ways to make the transition easier for your little ones.

"One tip might be to have your child list what the worries are, and then to counter that, have five other things they could think about. So for every one worry? Five positive thoughts," Licensed therapist Carrie Krawiec from the Birmingham Maple Clinic suggests.

Dawn Frederick with Farmington Public Schools also suggests tucking away a family photo in your child's backpack for he or she to look at throughout the day if they're lonely or sad.

"Sometimes, it's easier to separate at that bus stop than it is than the classroom door, and once they're on that bus with other children and on the way to school, they don't have that anxiety that they do in the car with mom and dad," Frederick adds.

Whether your little one has been at day care, preschool or at home full time, there are some requirements and skills that kindergarten teachers expect:

- Be able to get themselves dressed
- Be able to zip and unzip backpack
- Be able to use the bathroom on their own
- Be able to get into their lunchbox and open containers
- Have experience with pencils, scissors, crayons, etc.
- Recognize and write their name, and other letters of the alphabet

If your child is stressing out, it might be a good idea to do a dress rehersal with them so they know what to expect.

"If a kid is saying I'm not ready and they're really adamant about it, maybe start early in the month with some dress rehersals. First, visiting the school, maybe staying at the school for an hour or so, getting familiar with where to go. Even practicing at home - practicing the morning routine, practicing going to the bus stop or leaving the house," suggests Krawiec. She also suggests playing the 'Right Way Wrong Way' game, which can be playful.

For example, ask your child what they would do if their lunch was lost, and kind of play out with them the "right way" and the "wrong way" to handle that situation.

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