Help Your Child Prepare for Kindergarten
Strategies for Parents to Use at Home:
Talk with your child every day. Encourage your child to use words to recall events, express new ideas, ask questions, share feelings, and solve problems.
Build literacy skills. Explain how words consist of many letters that are put together, and how each letter has a sound. Starting with the letters in your child’s name is a great introduction to this concept.
Read a book every day. Engage your child by asking questions about the characters, the plot of the story, and the events that take place in the story.
Practice math skills. Incorporate counting, numbers, shapes, sizes, and patterns into your everyday routine. Count how many stairs you walk up together, have yourchild help set the table by getti ng 4 forks out of the drawer, identify numerals andshapes in books or on community signs, compare larger and smaller items, and noticethe striped pattern on the shirt: red-blue-red-blue.
Provide opportunities for your child to interact with similar aged children. Whether it’s going to the park or scheduling a play date with a friend, children learn a great deal from their peers. Teach her how to approach another child and initiate play and help them solve problems when conflicts arise.
Talk about feelings. Noticing and naming emotions is the first step in helping children manage their big feelings. Model this for your child by talking about when you feel sad, excited, frustrated, happy, etc.
Teach your child calm-down strategies. Taking deep breaths, going to a cozy calm down spot, a hug, counting to 5, singing a song, and placing a hand on the heart are just a few ideas.
Use schools supplies now and explore new materials during the summer. Practice cutti ng with scissors, have your child write his name with a pencil, and identify colors and shapes in his artwork.
Building Routines for School Success:
Practice makes progress. Prepare your child for school by practicing some routines they will use when they enter school: washing hands before eating, cleaning up one activity before moving onto the next, and putti ng on their own shoes or jacket.
Give your child choices. Present two acceptable options and let your child choose. Your child will build self-confidence while asserting independence.
Establish a bedtime routine over the summer. This ensures your child will get plenty of sleep and wake up early enough to get to school on time and be alert and ready to learn. Five year olds need 10-12 hours of sleep each night.
Keep your child moving! Being physically active helps your child use energy so they are better able to listen and focus when in a school setti ng. Remember kids learn through play!
Talk about upcoming transitions. Read books about starting school and making new friends.