How can you foster kindergarten readiness in your little one?
My oldest child starts kindergarten in August! In some ways, I feel like it’s time, yet in other ways, the idea of him gone in all-day kindergarten terrifies me. Like most people say, it’s another milestone that is bittersweet.
My son Max has ADHD and developmental delays, so he’s not too far behind but does have those things working against him. He’s smart, though, and works hard, and I’ve spent time trying to figure out just how to help prepare him for this big transition.
Here are five ways to really help your child with kindergarten readiness:
In the summer, it is so common to get into that “living’s easy” mentality and enjoy the laid-back lifestyle and do things whenever you please. While we are a little more laid-back, we do still follow a loose routine. We wake up around the same time every day, eat breakfast, and get ready for our day. Then we usually watch a tv show or two, and afterward, the kids know it’s time to turn it off and either play indoors or outside, or we go somewhere. We go to sleep at the same time every night, with the exception of maybe three days this summer when they got to stay up late for holidays or festivals. Kids (and adults!) perform their best when they have some structure in their lives.
Encourage basic skill development.
Max has been in an early childhood program at a local elementary school since age 3. He and I work on kindergarten readiness skills at home and he gets the same academic exposure at school, so he’s doing really well with his letters, numbers, colors, and shapes. Those are all easy for him now. I still make sure to use lots of description words every day in regular conversation and we count every day.
Play games with your child for kindergarten readiness.
We play a lot! I am home with the kids, so playing is what we do best. We go swimming, play games at the park such as follow the leader, play board games at home, play hide and seek, and we read every night. We go to the library for music and story time and my kids love it, too.
Expose your child to learning experiences and socialization.
We go everywhere we can! These summer months, we’ve been to so many places to really boost his kindergarten readiness. I make it a point to see what activities are happening and we get there! We went to Disney, so my kids rode in an airplane for the first time. We visit local festivals and fairs, go to a nearby farm that offers pony rides and has a petting zoo, go swimming in the pool and lake, visit the movie theatre, go to a local nature center, and play at countless parks. Max also played T-ball and we are going to a professional baseball game. I’m not naming these things to boast but simply sharing that we have done a lot of fun and inexpensive (other than Disney) things this summer. My kids really seem to have flourished as a result.
In general, I keep my eyes peeled for activities and opportunities to get out of the house and try something new. If you aren’t sure how to find out what is happening in your area, look online. Google can help you figure out what activities are happening where you live. While learning through play at home is necessary, it’s also awesome to get out and explore the world.
And my best kindergarten readiness tip…
Talk about kindergarten.
New things are scary, even to adults. It’s best to help your child become familiar with the idea of kindergarten. Build enthusiasm by acting excited and positive about what is to come. Say things like, “You get to each lunch at school; you are so lucky!” Lessen anxiety by trying to explain what school will be like. Make sure to visit the school before it starts. Ideally, meet your child’s teacher and see his or her classroom for maximum kindergarten readiness.
We have been to my son’s school twice this summer and will be going again a few days before school starts for the school’s annual ice cream social. This is the time when students get to meet their teacher and see the classroom, and, of course, eat some ice cream!
How did you help your child prepare for school?
If you like what you just read in “Kindergarten Readiness” let’s connect on social media, too:
Tags: Back to school