As a parent of a preschooler, one of your biggest concerns may be “Is my child really ready for kindergarten?” We try to do our best to prepare our children for everything they will face in life. Kindergarten is a huge milestone and the new challenges that accompany it can sometimes place added stress on parents. Hopefully the tips below will help prepare your rising kindergartener for a successful first year of school and the many years to come.
One of the top skills that kindergarten teachers would like to see in incoming kindergarteners is independence. As parents, we can equip our children with self-help skills by teaching them how and encouraging them to do things for themselves. This includes learning how to tie their own shoes, independent toileting skills, zipping jackets and pants, and opening snacks and lunch items on their own.
Another new milestone that is achieved in kindergarten is increased social interaction. We can encourage our children and expand social skills at home by teaching them how to correctly play with others, respecting others’ personal space and boundaries, and learning to be confident in the appropriate boundaries that they set for themselves.
We can encourage our children to demonstrate expressive language with clear and complete sentences. As parents, we assist in increasing their vocabulary by adding new words. Make a point to use expansive descriptions of everyday objects. Support the use of synonyms for words regularly used such as large instead of big; quick instead of fast; angry instead of mad; and difficult instead of hard. We can also start to develop reading skills by helping them gain awareness of their surroundings and asking open-ended questions while reflecting on experiences.
Big transitions bring big emotions. We can help children by allowing them to give feelings a name. We can aid them in appropriately coping with feelings by teaching them proper responses to feelings. For example, if your child feels that they will miss you during the day you can encourage them to think of a fun memory or experience that they shared with you. Another major tip is helping your child understand that the answer will sometimes be “no." If children are rarely told “no” or are not used to group settings, they may initially respond negatively when being told “no” or “next time.” Help your child understand why they may sometimes hear “no” to increase confidence and avoid undesirable behavior.
Academics will come. We shouldn’t stress and feel the need to hammer our preschoolers with memorized facts. Our number one goal is to help our children become successful tiny humans. Remember starting school can be scary for both parent and child, but together, you can do hard things!