Help your Preschooler Prepare for Kindergarten
Is your child ready to start Kindergarten this fall? As a parent, I know it’s difficult to imagine your little one sitting in a “big kid” classroom in just a few months. Believe me, though, you’ll be amazed at the growth your child will experience before then. Here are my ideas for helping your almost-big-kid along the way, to ensure Kindergarten will be a fun learning experience!
Friends and Feelings: Social/Emotional Boosters
- Help him be comfortable in the care of other trustworthy adults.
- Encourage her to verbalize her feelings and problems, and to ask for help when needed.
- Give a shy child more opportunities to socialize. Get down on his level and help him negotiate social situations.
- Boost emotional skills like waiting patiently, asking for a turn, and saying “please” and “thank you.” Tea parties are great for this.
- Practice making friends by role-playing. “Hello. My name is Sam. What’s your name? Do you want to play with me?”
- Practice how to ask the teacher for help, what to do if your little one doesn’t feel well at school and how to ask to go to the bathroom.
- Encourage lots of pretend play and join in occasionally.
- Play “Simon Says” and “Red Light/Green Light” to help with following directions and controlling impulses.
You’ve Got Class: Classroom Skills
- Integrate clean-up time into every activity during the day.
- Practice cutting with children’s scissors.
- Use lots of play-dough to build the hand strength necessary for writing.
- Practice holding pencils and crayons correctly.
- Tour your child’s new school several times. See what drop off, pick up, lunchtime, work time and recess look like. Find (and try out) the bathrooms – always a key issue for new Kindergarteners!
Learning Boosters: Cognitive Skills
- Count objects around the house together and practice counting to 20 during car rides.
- Do lots of reading together. Have your child hold the book, turn the page and help you run your finger underneath the words.
- After reading together, ask “what happened next?” questions to reinforce comprehension and memory.
- Encourage lots of daily outdoor play to build endurance, confidence and to blow off steam.
- Help her write her first name and to say her full name.
- Learn opposites like big vs. little.
- Learn about prepositions – place words – by playing Hide and Seek together. Ask your child to describe where you were hiding.
- Introduce the idea that letters make their own special sounds.
- Have your child follow two-step directions and play the “fetching game” with three or more objects.
- Help your child name colors of fun and familiar objects.
Learning in a fun and natural way works best. Don’t “drill” your child. And always, send the message that learning is FUN!
Do you have a little one getting ready for kindergarten this fall? Share how you’re preparing!