Soon, you will have to send your child off to school! That can be as exciting as it is nerve-racking. You want your child to be happy in school, but also be ready for it. The best way to get ready for kindergarten, though, is to make sure your little one has all the necessary skills to succeed in school. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list that will help you in preparing your child for kindergarten!
9 Fun Ways To Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten
What should a five-year-old know before starting kindergarten? Parents and guardians have a huge role in preparing a child for school. Beyond providing them with the necessary requirements and materials, social, emotional, and academic readiness are essential for a child to succeed in this new environment. We’ve listed some of the things to teach your child before kindergarten to help them adjust more positively to the change.
Prepare Your Child Academically
1. Enroll Your Child in a Top Pre-K Program
One of the best ways to ensure your child’s success in elementary school is to enroll in a preschool that has high-quality resources and a dedicated teaching team committed to providing rich learning experiences.
At this early age, children need a curriculum that is skills-based and tailored according to their learning styles and needs. The Kindergarten Readiness Program at Cadence Education, for instance, combines the nurturing environment of a home with a success-focused educational system that equips your child with the emotional and academic tools necessary to succeed in the big school.
2. Teach Them Letters
If you would like to personally learn how to prepare your child for kindergarten, there are many things you can teach them. One of the most important things children need to know before entering kindergarten is the alphabet. This includes more than just singing the alphabet. They should be proficient at letter recognition, writing letters, and knowing their sounds.
Play Letter Games
To improve letter recognition, you could play games with your child. For example, instead of drilling them with flashcards, you could make a matching game with one set of uppercase letters and one set of lowercase letters. Lay them all face-down and play the matching game, having your child identify which letters they flip over.
Help them understand that letters like “A” and “a” are the same, just written differently. However, there are an infinite amount of games you could create to help with letter recognition. Get creative! Play hide-and-seek with the letter refrigerator magnets or make a game of go-fish.
Practice Writing the Alphabet
Likewise, have your child practice writing their letters. When they start kindergarten, they should at least be able to write their names in upper and lowercase letters with no help. If he or she is already good at letter recognition, however, it will be much easier for them to learn how to write the entire alphabet.
On the other hand, you could teach writing and recognition at the same time, perhaps focusing on one letter a day/week. If you implement this technique, you could teach children letter recognition, writing, and phonology all at the same time, one letter at a time.
Know the Letter Sounds
Lastly, children should learn the sounds of letters. While this isn’t as important as the last two since it will be taught in kindergarten, it is still very important. If your child knows their letter sounds before entering their first year of school, they will learn how to read much faster.
3. Teach Them Numbers
Next to letters, numbers are another important facet of preparing your child for kindergarten. Children should be able to at least count to thirty at this point in their lives. To practice, have them count everyday things, such as the number of crackers they are eating at lunch or how many birds they see at the park. Counting everyday objects will help them problem-solve and recognize the importance of numbers at an early age.
At the same time, it will be very helpful if they know how to write their numbers, up to at least ten. Understanding the symbol that represents the amount of something will be extremely beneficial to them as they enter kindergarten, though it isn’t usually required.
4. Teach Them Shapes and Colors
Shapes and colors are also very important things to teach children! Have your child get in the habit of recognizing shapes and colors in everyday objects. You can ask simple questions such as “What color is this?” and “What shape is that?” to help them learn.
Additionally, it’s advantageous to teach children how to draw their shapes. This will help them identify even harder ones, such as the difference between a square, rectangle, diamond, and rhombus.
If children are having a hard time learning their colors, try thinking out of the box in the way you are teaching. For example, you could put food coloring in cookie dough or icing to emphasize the colors and make learning fun.
5. Practice Motor Skills
There are many important fine motor skills children need to learn before attending kindergarten.
Here are some of the most important skills:
- Your child needs to know how to write using a pencil, crayon, and marker.
- They should be able to use safety scissors.
- Lastly, they should be able to perform everyday tasks, such as buttoning and zipping up their pants after using the restroom and tying their shoes.
If your child doesn’t know how to do any of these things, it’s important to teach them! Some schools even make it a requirement to learn these skills before enrolling in school. One great way to show your child how to use a writing utensil is to practice while you teach them other lessons.
Here’s a list of some fun ways to teach your child:
- Have your child cut out the shapes they draw with safety scissors, and even practice gluing them on other pieces of paper.
- Playing with Playdoh helps children gain control of their fine motor skills, making it easier to write.
By working with your child on these simple tasks, you can teach them the necessary motor skills while incorporating other aspects of academia.
Prepare Your Child Emotionally
6. Instill Social Skills
You might ask: “How do I emotionally prepare my child for kindergarten?” In many cases, children who don’t know how to act around other kids can become aggressive when they play because they don’t properly know how to express themselves.
It’s important to teach children to use their words to express dislike for something because if children are not aware of this, they could get in trouble in kindergarten for hitting or pushing. Teaching children how to properly express themselves is a life skill they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
There are many ways to teach proper social skills. For example, you can schedule play dates for your child to get to know others or even role-play different scenarios he or she might encounter at school or on the playground. Helping children to find solutions to everyday problems they might encounter is a great way to instill social skills and get them ready for kindergarten.
7. Go To Orientation
If you have a school in mind and it’s hosting an orientation or tour, sign up for you and your little one to join. Little kids are often worried about not knowing their way around the premises, like where the bathroom is located or where the playgrounds are, and this contributes to why they are hesitant. Giving your child a chance to experience the environment before you dive in is a great way to emotionally prepare your child for kindergarten and make the transition much easier.
8. Meet the Teacher
Predictability will help your child emotionally prepare for a new life in kindergarten, and this includes introducing them to their teacher early. By being familiar with their teacher before school officially starts, children can feel more at ease knowing that a friendly face is waiting for them at this new place. The teacher will likely be introduced during orientation but, if not, feel free to ask the school to set a time to meet and greet.
9. Practice Your New Routine
Practicing your new routine benefits you and your child. Stage a dry run to find out how long it will take you to prepare at the start of day until you get out the door. This will help you have a better sense of how your child will respond to a new routine while also paying attention to any worries or roadblocks you might encounter. In this way, you can address these challenges early on and provide your child the reassurance they need to succeed.
Start Preparing Your Child For Kindergarten Today!
Incorporating games, exercises, and activities into teaching your child will make preparing for kindergarten fun! Remember not to make it too stressful for them, though, because a lot of these skills will be emphasized when they enter the scholastic world. Nevertheless, whether you choose to enroll your child in a preschool program or instill these fundamentals yourself, your child can be prepared for kindergarten.