Kindergarten is an exciting step. It’s a time when preschoolers see themselves transition to “big kid” activities. They have the opportunity to make choices all their own with Mom or Dad there to help. It’s important to prepare your child ahead of time for this new change. Make sure they are ready so they have the most positive experience possible. Here, Kelly Wilson shares insight to help you prepare your preschooler for Kindergarten.
If you and your child are looking ahead to kindergarten in the fall, these tips should help prepare your child for success!
It’s essential to talk with your child about starting kindergarten. One way to know how to answer your child’s questions is to have the best information you can get from the school your child will be attending. If you haven’t already, check out the websites at the district and school level, and take note of any kindergarten orientation dates and times that you can plan on attending.
At an orientation meeting or from the website, you’ll collect materials you need, like the names of office staff and classroom teachers, the daily school schedule, and bus information, plus any forms to fill out in order for your child to attend school.
Usually these forms are medical in nature, so you’ll need to schedule an appointment with your child’s pediatrician for necessary immunizations and a physical. This is also a great time for your child to visit the dentist for an exam and teeth cleaning.
“Children at this age soak up a ton of important information,” states Dr. Sue Walker, a Dentist in Milwaukie, Oregon . “It’s a great time to teach them how to take care of their teeth and get a baseline for their dental health.”
Children at any age benefit from increased independence in ways that are developmentally appropriate. For a preschooler preparing for kindergarten, this responsibility includes a daily routine. This routine can incorporate words and pictures on a chart that show your child what needs to be done during different parts of the day, including eating meals, getting dressed for the day or for bedtime, brushing teeth, combing hair, and playing outside. Once the school year routine begins, you’ll be happy you put this structure in place!
Take Advantage of Community Resources
There are many programs and opportunities provided by local parks, libraries and churches in your area that can help your child prepare for kindergarten. Take advantage of story times or craft activities at your local library, and check out books to read together during the week. Visit a play group regularly so that your child can practice valuable social skills with peers, such as sharing, expressing feelings appropriately, and taking turns. Head to the local children’s museum or nature park to help your child explore his or her world. All of these ways help kids build academic skills while having fun at the same time!
Build Math Skills
Basic math skills are essential and can be developed in fun and easy ways.
Play board games where your child needs to roll dice and/or count the spaces they move on the game board Hoola hoop or jump rope, counting how many times in a row that your child can do either activity before having to stop Write numbers and draw corresponding pictures using sidewalk chalk Use a calendar to count down to anticipated events, like a camping trip, a summer vacation, or a birthday
Build Literacy Skills
Literacy skills include reading, writing, talking and listening. Use these activities to strengthen your child’s academic literacy skills!
Nothing can substitute reading each day for 15 minutes with your child. Focus on alphabet books, identifying letter names and sounds Have your child practice writing his/her own name using crayons, markers, sidewalk chalk, magnetic letters and play dough Create your own family ABC book with photos of past events and special people, allowing one page for each letter (i.e. C is for Camping) Practice nursery Rhymes, silly songs and finger plays
Build Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills are important to your child’s success in kindergarten. These tips will help get them ready.
Have your child write using play dough, or have them use a finger to write letters or numbers in pudding, shaving cream or a small tray of rice or sand Use scissors to cut out shapes, like circles, squares, and triangles Put puzzles together on a rainy day Have your child tie, snap, button and zip clothing by themselves
Your preparation and these fun activities will help your child be ready to start kindergarten in the fall!
Kelly Wilson is a busy mom and freelance writer. For more information about how to teach kids to take care of their teeth, contact Dr. Sue Walker, a Dentist in Milwaukie, Oregon.