Starting kindergarten can be overwhelming for both kids and parents, and the process begins long before that first day. Use these tips to help prepare your child for their upcoming kindergarten experience!
Nuts and Bolts
Starting kindergarten is a big deal for both parents and children, beginning a process that begins in late spring and continues through your child’s first day of school.
- Attend the school’s parent orientation meeting, usually called the “Kindergarten Roundup,” that generally takes place in May. Call the school or go to the district website to find out the scheduled dates and times of the meeting at your child’s school.
- Make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician for a physical and required immunizations, which will be needed before your child can start kindergarten.
- Take your child to see the dentist. “Establishing good dental habits with kids is essential,” states Dr. Brett L. Johnson, DMD, a Dentist in Oregon City, Oregon. “This is the perfect time to examine their teeth, establish a healthy baseline for the future, and begin teaching them how to brush and floss.”
- Take advantage of summer sales for school supplies, bringing your child along on the shopping trips to pick out what they will need.
- Go on a special “fieldtrip” with your child to the school before the first day, helping your child find his/her classroom and bathrooms, as well as the library, office, gym, cafeteria, and playground.
Playing and Learning Go Well Together
At this stage, learning and playing are forever linked. There are two main academic areas for children to practice before they reach kindergarten, and all of them can be done while having fun at the same time!
Literacy skills involve talking, listening, reading and writing. Use these activities to help your child practice.
- Read together at least 15 minutes a day, preferably picture books. Talk about your favorite parts of the story.
- Sing silly songs and nursery rhymes during the day.
- Identify common signs around your community, like the Post Office, different stores, and street signs.
- Have your child practice writing his or her name using a finger in a dish of pudding.
Math skills are also important, involving sorting, grouping, counting, and number recognition.
- Have your children sort the different parts of trail mix, putting items into groups based on color or type. Then have them count the amount of items in each group.
- Involve your children in daily chores, like sorting laundry or putting dishes away.
- Practice counting to 100 with your child, like how many white cars you see during a drive or how many times they can use a hoola hoop without stopping.
- Make numbers out of play dough or draw them on pavement using sidewalk chalk.
Use Your Neighborhood Resources
Developing social skills are as important as building academic skills. These tips can help you teach your child about how to respect and work with others.
- Enroll your child in a half-day summer camp, where he/she meets new people and has to adjust to a new routine.
- Take your children to the local library during community events like puppet shows, music performances, and story telling times. Check out a few books while you’re there!
- Set up play dates with parents and kids in your community. Many may also be starting kindergarten in the fall, and the kids can get a jump on learning how to share, work together, appropriately resolve conflict, play and talk.
- Visit the local children’s museum in your area for a special time of educational, exploratory play!
Kelly Wilson was once an elementary school teacher who now raises two boys and is a freelance writer. To help your children take care of their teeth, visit Dr. Brett L. Johnson, DMD, a Dentist in Oregon City, Oregon.
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