Your child is growing up! He or she is getting to be that age when it’s time to start kindergarten. What can you do to help prepare your child for kindergarten? Here are some tips to help you out.
All kinds of sources agree that reading aloud to your child is very important for preparing them – not only for reading on their own, but also for school in general. Old-fashioned nursery rhymes have been shown to be helpful in teaching children about language, phonics, and rhyming. So go to the library and stock up on some age-appropriate books and get to reading together!
Play with clay and show your child how to form letters out of clay. If you like, start with a word he really likes, such as his own name or the name of a favorite pet or toy. This hands-on, tactile activity helps reinforce the concept of forming letters with the hands, and may help prepare your child for handwriting.
Talk about the names of colors and shapes when you are out and about (or even at home) with your child. Tell her the names of shapes of familiar objects and name the colors. You might play a game of “I spy” to help reinforce this in a fun way. In this game, you say something like, “I spy something red and round,” and then let your child guess what it is. Then your child can choose something and let you guess.
Visit the School and Meet the Teacher
Familiarity can really help your child adjust to kindergarten. See if you can arrange to tour the school and meet the teacher, and hopefully more than once. Let your child see the playground, classroom, and cafeteria of the school.
See what you can do to foster independence in your child before kindergarten. Practice tying shoes (it’s understandable if your child doesn’t master this right away, but it helps to have a start), dressing himself, and using the bathroom alone. If separation is an issue, practice some separations with caregivers before the big day arrives.
We all know not to run with them, but cutting with them is an important school-age skill. Do some fun projects with your child that involve cutting various shapes and lines, from straight to wavy.
Get a Check-Up
Before going to kindergarten, it’s a good idea to visit with your pediatrician for a check-up. Also make sure your child is up-to-date on his vaccinations, and find out what your child’s school requires in this regard.