Sending our babies off to Kindergarten is a time of adjustment for everyone involved. They may have a little anxiety about being in a new situation and you may be worried that your baby isn’t ready for their first real foray into the real world. While it’s only natural to have a little worry and trepidation about starting Kindergarten, making sure that your child is prepared to start school will make you both feel more confident. Here are seven things your child should know before Kindergarten that will help set them up for success. Get started this summer to ensure that they have a smooth start.
Teach your child who they are and where they come from – literally. Teach them to visually recognize their first and last name, even if they aren’t ready to write it. Help them to memorize your address and phone number. Though they may not need to know it at school, having a grasp on those personal details can give you some peace of mind when they are away from you.
Simple Occupational Skills
Make sure that they are able to handle buttons, zippers, and tying clothing and shoes. If they have specific clothing items that they struggle with, avoid wearing those to school until they have perfected them. If they are wearing a pair of jeans that has a tight button that they can’t handle, there can be embarrassing bathroom accidents. Also, make sure that they can handle their lunches on their own. Help them learn to open a juice box or package of crackers in case there isn’t an adult available to help at the moment they need it.
How to Follow Instructions
Practice following multi-step instructions with your child before they start kindergarten. Use a “first, then, last” approach to everything you ask them to do to help them understand the progression needed to get a job done. This will help them learn to listen for all of the instructions before trying to complete a task.
How and When to Sit and Listen
Little bodies are always on the move and they quickly tune out to focus on having fun. Provide your child with opportunities to sit and listen and help them understand that this is important in the classroom. There are times to play and times to sit quietly and they are expected to understand the difference.
Advocating for Themselves in Simple Situations
Little ones often are afraid to speak up and share their needs with an adult. Let them know that asking for help when they need it is a good thing and that adults or even other friends are willing to help. Whether they need the bathroom, are struggling with their lunch, or are missing a supply needed to do their classwork, they should speak up and ask for what they need.
How to Handle the Word “No”
Teaching your child to handle being told “no” and when they should use the word “no” themselves will serve them well throughout their lives. Teaching them that they aren’t always allowed to do or have the things they want and that there are situations where they shouldn’t conform to what others want is so important. Explain respect for authority and help them understand the basics of the concept of consent.
Beginning Educational Skills
Social preparation is a huge part of being ready for the start of Kindergarten. Giving your child a head start on educational skills, such as counting, letter and shape recognition, color names, and similar skills can be helpful when the get into the classroom. But remember, these things will be taught in Kindergarten so if they are struggling too much, don’t force the issue.
There is a lot to think about as you prepare your child to start Kindergarten. Giving them a good base of social skills and educational basics will help ease everyone’s anxiety and get them started on the right foot.