By Heather Burdo
With just one more full month (for most) of summer vacation, it’s time to start thinking about how to prepare your little one for Kindergarten. Your child is probably very eager to go to “big kid” school or nervous. With a little help in preparation, you can help guide the to make it as easy as possible (we got you, too, mama - we know the emotions you’re feeling right now.)
Start Bedtime Routines Early
It’s easy to get caught up in spending extra time with your kiddos and let them stay up just a tad later. The sooner you break that habit and put them to bed earlier, they will get into a routine and make it easier to get up in the morning. Developing a healthy wake and sleep cycle is good for their developing brains. Not to mention, it’s also good for mom and dad’s sanity.
If you have a child who is harder to put to bed, remain calm. If they pick up that you are stressed, they will get stressed and likely not listen as well as if you had a fun time with it. For example, sing a song, get in pajamas, have a snack then bathtime. Develop a consistent routine that they can expect. Routine can make for some pretty happy homes.
Make Reading Fun
Kids develop at their own pace when it comes to reading; however, it’s worthwhile to try and make it fun for them. For at least 20 minutes per day, read a book with your child. You can even have them pick out the “special book of the day”. You can either take turns reading or have your child read each book. If you have a struggling reader or one that’s uninterested, try taking turns reading each page and see if it makes it any easier. Developing reading skills at home is important since they will be diving into reading sight words in Kindergarten.
Bonus: It’s always a special moment when your child starts reading so if you practice with them first, you get to hear those first words they read.
Work on Following Directions and Focusing
In Kindergarten, children are required to stay seated while a lesson is in session. They also need to learn self-control and how to focus on the teacher. If your child struggles at home with following directions, it’s beneficial for you and the teacher to have a talk with your child about focusing and always following the teacher’s instructions. Usually schools have some type of reward system, but you could also create your own rewards at home for good behavior in school.
Talk to Your Child About Bullying
Unfortunately, bullying has become a thing that needs to be discussed. Engaging with your children in a talk about bullying at a young age could help make an impact. Always remind your child to seek help if there is a bully and tell you when they get home as well. Also, all parents should consider that their child can be a bully, too. Talking with your child about how it’s not nice to be a bully people, even if their friends are doing it, is important. Every so often, check in with them on this topic. Create simple coping mechanisms to teach your child in the event someone gets them mad so they can do that instead of act out and be mean to someone.
Aside from the above tips, there are some skills that are usually expected depending on the school. To help your child get a head start, consider practicing these skills together:
- Identify some of the letters of the alphabet
- Hold a pencil and crayon correctly
- Write first name
- Count to 10
- Speak with complete sentences
- Recognize some sight words
- Use scissors and glue
- Play independently for a short time
- Get dressed
- Use bathroom independently
- Listen to the teacher or story with no interruptions
Sending your little one off to Kindergarten can be a bit easier with a plan and establishing routine. Being able to practice skills and learn new words with your child can be very rewarding so you can witness some of those “firsts” that you may be dreading as they venture off to school. Feel free to chime in below and comment with anything we may have missed for our fellow moms.
Heather is a freelance writer from New York. When she isn't writing about parenting, she is tending to her own two handsome boys. She enjoys all things related to motivation and mindset. All work aside, she enjoys activities outdoors and being with her family.
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