Now that you have almost completed the 50+ summer activities to do with your child, it’s time to start thinking about the school year ahead! If you have a little one starting kindergarten this fall, I’m sure you have heard “is so-and-so ready for kindergarten?” about a million times, and of course you reply with the usual, slightly wavering response of “oh yes!… I think so anyway” … But is your son or daughter actually ready for full day, every day kindergarten? Are you? Help start the year out right and prepare your child for kindergarten in these 5 easy steps!
Getting Ready in the Mornings
When my daughter now wakes up in the mornings, she is expected to come downstairs fully dressed, with teeth brushed, having already gone potty and her hands washed. Now this doesn’t always happen, but we are working on it and would highly recommend it! It makes the morning go so much more smoothly, allows your child more autonomy, and you don’t have to ask your child to get dressed 47 times before you have even had a cup of coffee. Here are some tips for success:
- Look at the weather the night before
- Get your child to lay out their outfit the night before so it’s easy for them in the morning
- Set up their toothbrush with toothpaste near the sink
- Remind them in the evening to go potty and wash hands when they wake up!
Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten By Making Friends
Making friends is hard work, especially for a three-year-old just starting to learn the beginnings of our societal norms. It takes practice. It’s anxiety provoking. It’s often awkward and doesn’t always go as you planned. There are thousands of nuances within the English language that take time to master.
Here are some suggestions to get your child used to socialising, sharing and working as a team:
- Hang out with your friends with kids
- Join a play-group within your school district – that way, they can meet their fellow classmates before school starts
- Join a summer day camp to strengthen confidence and independence
- Have him/her join a team sport in which the players have to interact and work together
- If you are present, cueing him/her with phrases to use when talking to other children may be all they need to get off to the right track, such as “Hi, my name is ____. What’s Yours?”, “Do you want to play with me?”, “Would you like to share this with me?”, or “I am doing ___. Do you want to as well?”
- Talk about his/her relationships after their interactions – what went well, what they enjoyed about it and what to improve upon
- Monitor but allow your child to try to work through concerns with other children on his/her own
Maybe there are some children out there that do not have problems finishing their lunches within a reasonable amount of time. Maybe. But once you put them in a highly charged classroom with 30+ four-year-olds in it, they are bound to get distracted.
Full-day kindergarten + untouched lunch = extremely grumpy, tired kindergartener who wants to gorge him/herself immediately off of the bus.
- Try timing your child’s lunches at home a couple of times to help them understand how long they will have at school
- Teach them to listen to their own hunger cues and to keep eating until they are full
- Make lunches with your child’s input the night before, so that they have an idea of what to expect at lunch time and it includes their favourites
Learning Fine Motor Skills
Some fine motor skills that will give your child a leg up once kindergarten starts include:
- Cutting out pictures on paper with blunt scissors
- Writing his/her name
- Holding a pencil and pen the right way
- Colouring within the lines
- Zipping, tying and buttoning
- Opening lunch boxes and food containers, eating with cutlery
Reading Books Every Night
If this isn’t part of your bedtime routine, start it now! It is a great time to not only unwind and bond with your child, but it will also help to teach them new words! This is a huge part to help prepare your child for Kindergarten!
- Read 2-3 short books each night
- Include first reader style books that teach phonics and sight words
- Include more difficult books that he/she can listen to and imagine as you read
- Discuss the stories as you go along, answering any questions as you go
- Afterwards, ask them to tell you what the moral of the story was and what they learned from it
Is your child ready for Kindergarten? Will these top 5 ways to help prepare your child for Kindergarten be helpful to your son or daughter? Please share in the comment section below!