Spring break is over and I can't believe in just a couple of months, Madison will be starting kindergarten. She's currently in preschool and has no idea that preschool is going to be so much different than kindergarten. She's of the impression that it's going to be nap time and snack time and all the other down time she currently receives in preschool. I know that I need to prepare her for kindergarten, and I am sure that there are other parents out there who want to know how to do so as well. Here’s how to prepare your preschooler for kindergarten.
When your child goes off to kindergarten, she has officially graduated to the big kid leagues! For some, the adjustment is smooth, but for others, it can take some time. While the case for your little one will depend on a number of factors (whether she has been to pre-k, whether she is going for full or half-days, where she is developmentally and socially), there are a few general tips you can practice at home ahead of the start of the school year. Many of them can be done under the guise of play. (Learning should be fun!)
First, visit the Kindergarten class your child will likely be attending. Even if you do this a year in advance, even if the exact teacher and classroom are still unknown, get acquainted with the general schedule the students follow throughout the day. You can loosely follow this schedule to get your little one used to the routine. Even if things don’t happen at exactly the same time every day, kids notice when certain things follow a specific order (outside play time comes before lunch, which comes before art, and then we have reading time, etc.) Institute a weeknight bedtime, if you haven’t already, and wake your child up at the same time each weekday. This way, it won’t be a shock when it’s a non-negotiable element of every day.
Then, start being mindful of the activities you participate in at home. Your child’s best chances for success lie in knowing some basic skills. (And if she isn’t ready yet, trust your gut and wait a year.) Try to incorporate these things into her daily weekday routine:
- Encourage your child to try activities above her skill level, and to calmly ask for help if she is having a problem.
- Practice taking turns.
- Work with your child to clean up toys after she’s done playing with them.
- Make sure your child is able to understand and complete simple one and two-step instructions. Reward him with lots of praise when she follows through.
- Read to your child daily. Use your finger to follow along with the words as you read them aloud. Ask your child about what happened in the story afterward. Allow her to “read” the story back to you.
- Institute art time that gives your child time to draw or paint freely on blank paper. Allow him or her to get comfortable using safety scissors during this time. String large beads or macaroni noodles together.
- Teach your child the upper and lower cases of the alphabet. Work on the sounds each letter makes. Practice spelling her first name.
- Have your child sort items by color, size and shape (This works with household both items and toys, and verbally at the grocery store or on a car ride). When physically sorting objects, work on creating patterns and practice identifying shapes.
- Practice counting to 20. Teach your child to recognize numbers 1 through 10.
- Make sure your child can name basic colors.
- Play with Play-Doh and put puzzles together.
- Talk about directions (up/down, on/off) and opposites (hot/cold, big/small).
- Engage your child in physical play (skipping, catching, and stacking).
- Encourage imaginary play.
- Set up regular play dates, and utilize drop-off childcare services when you can to show your child that you will always come back for her.
What tips can you share?