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Establishing a routine for kids, parents

August 27, 2004|by ANDREA ROWLAND

Clinical psychologist Debbie Glasser's tips for easing the transition into preschool or kindergarten include:

· Be specific when talking to kids about what they can expect at school, Glasser said. For example, tell them they'll be singing songs and playing on the playground rather than just saying, "You'll have fun."

· Establish night-before-school routines, such as choosing clothes and lunch options - and invite children to help make simple decisions. For example, ask them whether they'd like to wear the blue shirt or the red shirt to school.

"Young kids in particular really thrive on predictability and routine," Glasser said. "Preschoolers love choices. Giving them options promotes a sense of control, which they really need during this time of transition."

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· Introduce appropriate limit-setting at home to promote positive discipline, which will help young children adapt to new classroom rules. Take a parenting class or read a book about childhood development to learn what kinds of limits are suitable for each age group.

· Invite a friend who is the same age to the house for the weekend so the children can practice the social skills they need to thrive in school. "Help them practice things like sharing, turn-taking and resolving conflicts, because these are the types of things they'll be practicing in school," Glasser said.

· Clue the child's teacher in to something special about the child with a brief note - "just one little thing that might help them get to know your child better that day," Glasser said.

· Get involved with the school.




The National PTA at www.pta.org on the Web encourages parents to help children view change - including the transition into kindergarten - as both a challenge and opportunity.

National PTA's tips for making the transition easier include:

· Talk to first-time students about the bus route, the length of the ride, and how to befriend other students on the bus.

· Answer all kids' questions.

· Really listen for children's concerns so you can reassure them.

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