Starting kindergarten can be a difficult time for your child as well as for you. Entering a structured environment with academic and behavioral expectations your child is not yet used to can be overwhelming and even a bit scary. I, for one, had to be dragged out of bed by my ankles and cried every morning for the first few weeks. My mother tells me I was the last in my class to stop crying everyday. But here I am today, a kindergarten graduate and upstanding member of society.
To ensure your child’s transition is as smooth as possible, we give you this checklist for how to get your child ready for kindergarten:
Enroll your child in a preschool, gymnastics, art, storytime, dance, or other group class where she can learn how to interact with other children as well as adults other than her parents/guardians. Learning that the world does not revolve around her and that there’s a world outside of his home will be the most important lessons to learn in kindergarten, so starting group activities early will give her a leg up.
Teach him his personal info
Since kindergarten may be the first time your child is spending an extended period of time away from you, it’s important that she knows her basic personal information: how to spell her first and last name, her address, her phone number, her age and birth date, and her parents’ or guardians’ names.
Practice the basics
Your child will learn the beginnings of phonics and how to read and write in kindergarten, along with colors and counting. But you can get a headstart now. Ask her the colors of the fruits and veggies at the supermarket, count stairs as you climb them, assign her pictures to draw, show her how to trace letters, and hold up a random object and ask her the first letter in its name. Incorporate these lessons into her everyday life, so she’s more likely to retain what she learns. Most of all, read stories together whenever possible. Whether you read a story to her or have her tell you a story that you write down, it will help expand her vocabulary and encourage her creativity and imagination.
Tour the school
In addition to a formal tour of the inside of the school and the classrooms that may be offered to new students and their parents, you can begin earlier to acclimate your child to her new environment. Take her to watch the kids arrive in the morning, playing in the courtyard at recess, and boarding school buses to leave at the end of the day. You can even take her to play in the courtyard herself outside of school hours. This will serve to build a familiarity with the surroundings that your child will find comforting once she actually starts.
Do you have any other suggestions for preparing your child for kindergarten?