Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten

apple on a stack of books

Can you believe it? Your baby is all grown up and will be flying on their own! Not only is this going to be a change for you (yes, you have to let them go), it is a huge milestone for your child.  In order to help ease the transition to a full day of school, five days a week, there are some ways you as a parent can help prepare them.

  • Discuss Stranger Safety

Make sure you review what to do if a stranger approaches them. You should go over the different tactics that a stranger might use to lure them away from others. You might even be able to find a small video clip online to help validate your points.

  • Memorize your personal information – Full name, address, and a parents phone number

Your child should know their entire full name by elementary school, however, the sooner the better! If spelling their name is a bit difficult, that is okay, you just want to make sure they know exactly what their real name is. To memorize a parents phone number (since most people no longer have a house phone), you can use the song ‘Frere Jacques; or ‘Are you sleeping?’  This allows them to get a tune stuck in their heads with the right number.

As for the address, this one can be more difficult. There really isn’t a trick to memorize this; you just need to use repetition.  Having them create their own map with their state, town, address etc. would be a great way for them to review this information daily.

  • Practice Writing their Name

By the time your child goes to kindergarten, they should be writing their own first name and last name.  Most kids spend a lot of time practicing these in a preschool class. Your child’s writing does not have to be perfectly symmetrical, but it needs to be legible. On the first day of school your child will likely be asked to write their name on their paper, and on a day where your child might be nervous, they will get a full confidence boost when they can do this task easily.  Practice by having your child write their name on art projects they give to relatives, in a name book, or play games with your family names.

  • Identifying letters and knowing their sounds

When entering kindergarten, children should identify both uppercase and lowercase letters, this way they can start to learn the sounds they make. If your child knows their letters, then you are helping get them past the first big hurdle. To practice these you can put letters on food containers, they can go on a backyard alphabet hunt, and play alphabet board games.

  • Sight words

Many schools suggest that parents should start practicing sight words before the child even gets to kindergarten. These words are learned by memorizing because they are quick easy words that do not follow phonics rules. Getting flashcards with sight words on them is a great way to help get your child started. You can practice them during meal times or play games too. Another way to practice is a word search, using magnetic letter, and tons of other websites you can find on the internet.

  • Numbers, Numbers, and more Numbers

Make sure to spend time working on numbers, whether it be in a card game, looking at street signs or house number, or simply adding up different foods at restaurants and stores. It is essential for children to start understanding the concept of numbers. You can have your child practice counting toys, beads while making a necklace, or matches in a matching game. Building this foundation will help your youngster develop their number skills.

  • What are you Reading?

One of the greatest accomplishments you can have as a parent is being a successful story reader. Reading to your child develops an enormous amount of skills that will help shape their overall communication skills. Read to your child throughout the day. You can read directions, read a news article, or a cereal box. To round out your reading, have your child choose a book they are interested in, but might be above their reading level. You can schedule time each day and a special place to read a few pages of that book to them, this way you complete a book with them.

  • Tie, zip, button – Being Independent

What better way to feel like a big kid then becoming more independent when you are getting dressed and ready to go. This will boost your child’s confidence tremendously.  It might help to have your child practice on your sweat-shirt or pants/sweater. The bigger buttons and zippers might be easier for them to maneuver.  For tying shoe laces, you can have your child watch a video clip to show them and then begin practicing on a shoelace box. This is where you poke a few holes in a shoelace box and put in different ribbons. Next, your child can practice tying multiple bows on the box.

With kindergarten around the corner, your youngster is thriving and learning so many new skills each day.  In order to make sure your child’s transition is an easy one, you want to help them prepare some of these skills prior to the start of school.