From the moment our children are born, we’ve watched them grow and change right before our eyes. In the first year of life, babies change and develop very rapidly. By the time they are 3 or 4 years old, we’ve witnessed them grow smarter and turn into fun little kids. Once kindergarten passes, expectations in school for both academics and behavior will increase dramatically. As a former teacher, I know it’s important for us as parents to be diligent in helping them so that they can accomplish their goals while meeting academic expectations. Second grade is a fun and very big year for kids! They’re no longer the littlest kids at school and their schoolwork will become more challenging. Help your future second grader out by knowing what will be expected of them. Here are eight skills your kids should know by second grade:
1. Basics of literacy
They should have basic foundation language skills or phonemic awareness. These skills will continue to make reading easier in the future. Decoding words, breaking apart sounds, memorizing sight words and practicing those skills daily is essential for strengthening and building literacy skills. Continue reading to your child and, more importantly, listen to them read! Have them read various books that are both above and below their current reading level in order to practice new skills while continuing to master their old skills.
2. Concepts of time
By second grade, your kids should understand past, present and future. They should also understand times of the day: morning, afternoon and night. Their ability to tell time will grow as long as they practice! Point out clocks and ask them what the clock says. A great way to encourage time-telling skills is to get them their own watch. A watch, like a Flik Flak watch, will empower kids to learn how to tell time and transform the experience into something fun. The easily-readable watch face and color-coded design helps kids differentiate between minutes and hours. Start by explaining hour, then half hour, then quarter hours. Chances are, your child will practice all of this in first grade, but it will take lots of encouragement at home too.
3. Foundations of mathematics
In kindergarten, children are expected to know their numbers to 100 (at least). By second grade, the expectations will increase dramatically. Not all children can memorize math facts quickly, and that’s OK. Use objects, have them draw or even encourage them to cook something with measurements. All these applications will strengthen their mathematical foundation. By second grade, your kids should be able to add and subtract math families (numbers 1-10). Rounding, weighing and counting money will be practiced a lot this year.
4. Writing sentences
It is amazing to see how rapidly a child’s writing skills can progress! By second grade, it’s important for kids to remember to use their sight words, to use punctuation (periods and question marks) and use capital letters. In second grade, they will learn how to research, edit their own work and even write stories! Besides ABC’s and 123’s, here are some other very important things your kids should know by second grade.
“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me.” Wrong! Beginning in kindergarten and first grade, kids can become embarrassed very easily. By second grade, children should understand that while it may be funny to tease, the person being teased does not think it’s funny. People who tease often enjoy embarrassing others, so we need to encourage our second graders to not say embarrassing things about anyone in front of others. A good rule to follow: “If you cannot say something nice about someone, avoid saying anything at all.” Teach them this skill by reminding them to treat others the way they want to be treated.
Most 6 and 7 year olds can’t stand being interrupted! Second graders understand that it makes it difficult for people to concentrate when they interrupt. Remind your second graders to allow people to finish talking before they speak or to say “excuse me” if they must interrupt. By second grade, kids understand to not hit or kick a seat in front of them and to not make loud noises in quiet situations.
7. Being tidy verses being messy
Being messy in the eyes of a kindergartener and first grader is spilling food on your clothes, dropping food on the floor and touching things with dirty hands. In second grade, kids should recognize that they are being messy when they do not put things away after they use them, when they don’t put things away where they belong, or when they don’t put things away neatly. Being careless also leads to being messy. Help your second graders by reminding them to have tidy skills, like washing their hands, wiping their feet and putting away their belongings.
This is a hard one! Learning to understand that tattling can lead to hurt feelings is challenging for your second grader. Explaining that tattling will not get them the kind of attention they want is hard and definitely take practice and repetition (it’s almost like breaking a habit!). In kindergarten and first grade, kids think telling on other kids is a good thing, but by second grade, kids should begin to understand that tattling could get others in trouble when it isn’t necessary. If your kids need help with this skill, remind them to try and solve their own problems if they can. However, if a person or their belongings are in danger, it’s always OK to tell an adult! It’s not tattling if you are doing it to help someone.
It’s important to remember that we want our kiddos to be well-rounded individuals! Helping them focus on academic skills as well as behavioral skills will help them in school and in public. Kids at this age are dealing with both kids and adults, so it is important for them to learn how to manage their emotions and behave appropriately.
This post is sponsored by Flik Flak.