Starting kindergarten can be tremendously anxiety-inducing for children. A new and unfamiliar building, kids they haven’t met yet, lessons that are more complicated than their preschool play-based learning. Some children leap into the unknown with aplomb, but more often there are nerves and worries to go along with the excitement of starting big-kids’ school. If your child leans toward the worrying end of the spectrum, be sure to read a lot of kindergarten books in advance of the big day. Kindergarten books give comforting and funny examples of what goes on in the classroom, and shows how beloved characters handle the transition. Reading books with your child can lessen the mystery of starting school, easing concerns and increasing the “can’t-wait” feeling.
- Counting Down. After the school supplies have been bought and your soon-to-be kindergartner has picked out his first-day outfit, the countdown begins. Kindergarten books that deal with the last days of summer in a gentle and comforting way include Alison McGhee’s Countdown to Kindergarten, about a little girl who has heard all there is to know — from a 1st grader, no less — about the first day of kindergarten. Her jitters remain, but McGhee’s lighthearted story will settle your child’s nerves.
- The First Day! Many kindergarten books address what happens on the big day. For an insider’s look at how a teacher and her students might prepare for class, try Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten. For a hilarious and high-energy look at one troublemaker’s first day, you can’t go wrong with David Goes to School. And show the worrywart in your family that she’s not alone fretting about the first day with Wemberly Worried.
- “Do I Have to Go?” For the young one who has trouble letting go, reassure them that you’ll be lovingly waiting at home with kindergarten books about the enduring love of parents. Francesca Rusackas’s I Love You All Day Long will comfort the kindergartner who suffers from a case of separation anxiety.