How do you prepare your child for kindergarten? It’s such a huge step for them! If you have a child who will be starting school next year, you may already have started to worry about how the transition will unfold (for the both of you, if we’re being entirely honest). You know it will be good for your child to spread her wings, but what if she struggles when she gets to school?
Fortunately, you’ve been preparing your child his entire life for the day he heads off to school by loving him and helping him learn to be a good person. As you go through the next 6 months, here are some areas in which you can focus your efforts of kindergarten preparation.
How Do You Prepare Your Child For Kindergarten?
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- Turn-taking and sharing. Learning the patience to take turns and share with friends is not easy for your little one. Working on these concepts at home will help her immensely, as she will use them daily. Play simple games such as Connect 4 or Chutes and Ladders and focus on turn-taking. Watch how she shares with other kids, and talk about the positive impact she has when she shares nicely with other people. Praise her when she does well, as these concepts require emotional control!
- Read, read, and read some more! We all know how important it is to read to our children, but these months before school, amp it up! Ask your child to “read” the book by describing the pictures. Encourage him to point out letters he recognizes in the text. Discuss how the characters may be feeling throughout the book. Personally, I don’t like to interrupt the story, so my kids and I go back after finishing a book to explore it a bit more. Perhaps that’s something to try, too!
- Explore! Your child is naturally curious – foster it! Walk around outside and talk about trees, flowers, and birds. Go on adventures to the bank, post office, and store. As you go on those adventures, explore. Discuss money – name the coins and their values. Talk about the process of mailing a letter and how it arrives at its destination. Answer all those questions your child asks, and if you don’t know the answer, take the time to research it together.
- Teach independence. Up to this point, you’ve made many of the choices for your child. It’s time for her to start flexing those independent muscles. Think of ways throughout the day that your child can make decisions for herself. Ask her to set the table and clear her own dishes at dinner. If she gets frustrated because she is having a hard time with a task, encourage her to work through it rather than immediately coming to her aid. She’s capable of a lot – she just needs the confidence that she can do it!
- Count everything and play simple math games. Find ways to include numbers in your day, but not just verbally. When your son sets the table hold up your fingers to show him how many forks he needs. Use flash cards with numbers to show him how many minutes he has left to play before bedtime. During lunch, talk about how many peas he has remaining on his plate and how many he’ll have left once he eats one.
You and your child both will be just fine when the time comes to head off to kindergarten. Working on the items above will equip her as much as possible for success. As much pressure as you may feel to teach your child everything so she’s ready, don’t forget the wise words from one of my family’s favorite books, The Pout Pout Fish Goes to School –“you don’t have to know things you haven’t learned yet.” And as he learns those things, he will share them with you with a vigor and excitement that will reassure you that you did equip him. Good job!