With a new school year beginning, many families are preparing their young children for kindergarten, which can be a source of anxiety for students and their parents.
Denise Barcelo, Director of Pine Village Preschool in Brighton, knows how crucial that step from pre-k to kindergarten is. Kids can fear the unknown, she says, and so can mom and dad.
"A lot of parents do get concerned that their children won't be ready for kindergarten," Barcelo said.
The first step toward easing those anxieties is making sure your child can process their feelings, communicate well, and absorb information. For Erika Cedrone, the mother of a 4- and 2-year-old at Pine Village, that meant finding the right preschool.
"We understood that the social, emotional and academic growth of our child was important for them to go into kindergarten," said Cedrone.
When the time comes to change schools, familiarize your child with the new learning environment.
"Visit the school beforehand, communicate with the teacher," said Barcelo. "Sometimes, the teacher will send e-mails and cards to the kids so they're prepared for that."
Teacher Britni Raymond also suggests introducing your child to some new classmates.
"We try to encourage them to get in contact with some of the other children they will be in school with, to set up play dates with them," Raymond said.
In the weeks leading up to the big first day of school, parents should talk about it. Barcelo says reassuring kids that this will be a smooth transition can go a long way.
"If they're showing them calmness and that they're okay, then their kids will feel that sort of sense of security," Barcelo told NECN.
The team at Pine Village also encourages parents to talk to other parents who've gone through the kindergarten transition, to see what helped them get through that period of uneasiness.