If you’re sending your child off to kindergarten this fall, you might worry about how they will cope, especially if it will be their first taste of structured learning. Here are a few ways you can prepare your child for school to get them off to the best start — and get you more comfortable with this big transition.
Talk to your child, and encourage them to talk as well
When your child starts school, their language skills will have a huge impact on how well they do. They should be able to speak in full sentences, and the more you talk to your child, the more language skills they will pick up. Encourage them to express in words what they’re thinking when they get frustrated or instead of pointing at things, and get them used to articulating their needs and wants. In doing so, they will be better able to communicate with their teacher and classmates.
Colour and draw
Fine motor skills are still developing in young children, and by practicing movements requiring fine motor skills at home, they will be more prepared for the many activities and tasks they’ll be exposed to in kindergarten. Colouring, drawing, holding pencils and practicing writing their name are all good activities to build their dexterity. Encouraging them to properly use eating utensils and to tie their shoes will work their hands and their brain.
Read, read, and then read some more
Reading has a huge impact on the way kids learn, and the more they read, the better. So encourage a love of reading in your child. Choose a few books with them each day, and have them read on their own. Visit the library too, and read books together while practicing the alphabet and discussing what’s happening in the pictures.
Limit TV and digital devices
You don’t have to completely cut them out, but limiting the time your child watches TV or uses digital devices will encourage independent play. Unstructured, independent play is good for your child because it fosters their imagination, encourages them to pick up a book and read, and it gets them used to playing without always being engaged with someone else.
Give them more responsibility
Help your child learn how to follow instructions by giving them more responsibility. Having them perform small tasks, such as making their bed in the morning, choosing their outfit for the day and picking up after themselves, will get them used to following directions at school. They will take pride in their new responsibilities, and their sense of independence will help build their self-esteem.