As your baby grows into a toddler and then your toddler approaches kindergarten, it can cause a lot of excitement. Bottles and diapers are replaced by leather knees and adventures. It seems like overnight, your sweet baby looks like a full child. You’ve done your research and found the best ways to keep your baby happy, healthy and growing. Now is the time to prepare your 5-year-old for kindergarten.
There are many learning activities you can do to help your children prepare for Kindergarten. Many of them also take a few minutes a day and are so crucial to their development. From a schedule to reading to learning about kindness, these activities are easy for your 4-5 year old to understand. Read on for more ways to help your child get ready for school. There’s even an extra tip for great emotions about the transition for both you and your child.
1. Get a schedule
When school starts, your child will need to get up at the same time and get ready Monday through Friday. Many fights and tears are shed in the morning trying to get out the door. Start practice early and get on a schedule so it’s not a surprise when school starts. Set a consistent bedtime and routine each night. For example, bathe, brush your teeth, put on jams, read and go to bed by 8pm every night.
2. Practice letters, numbers and words
Working with your child on educational activities prepares them for success in the classroom. It gives them a head start in recognizing some key elements they will be exposed to in kindergarten. Practice counting and recognizing numbers. Practice letters and sight words. Use flashcards or a whiteboard and easel at home. You can even start by typing their name so they know that word first.
3. Read every day
Since you’re already working on a daily schedule, add reading to the list. Reading every day is actually one of the most important things you can do through a learning activity. It helps foster a love of reading through connection because you’re modeling it as something you do and enjoy. Listening to stories, looking at the words and seeing the corresponding pictures also strengthens your child’s language and literacy skills. Stories can also help children learn appropriate behaviors for different situations through their favorite characters.
4. Color identification
Part of your child’s early childhood development is being able to identify colors. Start by casually identifying colors in a normal conversation with your child. It can be as simple as phrases like, “Do you want to wear your purple or yellow shoes today?” As you hold them up, your child can point to them. They will begin to associate the color with the object. You can do this with many things in your environment.
5. Work on puzzles and blocks
Turn off the tablet, limit screens, and make kids work with touch fun. Puzzles, building blocks, and even Legos help your child develop their logical skills. They learn through trial and error how the pieces fit together. Shape sorting blocks and puzzles help your child start learning shapes and also help with spatial awareness. Help them identify their names while you play too.
6. Learning Emotional Regulation
Help your little ones learn to regulate their emotions. This is a skill that is also largely modeled, so work on your own emotional regulation as well. Help them work on using healthy coping strategies for big feelings. You can teach them to talk about their feelings and show them that their feelings are valid. Work on empathy and how to treat others with kindness as well.
7. Achieve independence
Part of going to kindergarten is becoming a big kid. They do more and more things on their own apart from you. Work with them to achieve independence. Empowering them to feed themselves at lunch and use the bathroom on their own is a start. Trusting them with more tasks will also help build their confidence in school.
8. Development of self-care skills
As with gaining independence, work with your children to develop self-care skills and healthy habits. Good hygiene is part of this. Two important things are washing your hands after going to the bathroom and not holding your nose. Covering your mouth when you cough is also important. As part of their routine, brushing their teeth and learning to bathe themselves are also good skills.
9. Take responsibility
Learning to take responsibility is a great life skill. In fact, it is one that is built throughout life. If your child is in trouble, teach him to recognize his mistake. The responsibility extends beyond this; teach them that they are responsible for their actions and words. Being kind and doing what you say you will do are too big things for little ones to work on. They can also be responsible for their things and keep track of their own shoes and backpacks.
10. Know your phone number
One way to set your child up for success is to make sure they know mommy and daddy’s real names. In an emergency, knowing your own name and your parents can be helpful to those in charge. Work with them to memorize one of your phone numbers as well. That way, they can tell a trusted adult if they need to contact you. You can also put your contact information and name inside the backpack for extra help. Let them know it’s there if a teacher or bus driver needs it too.
11. Recognize and name the parts of the body
As a parent, you never want to think about the harm that will befall your children. However, a little prevention can help in potentially dire situations. Teach your children proper names for their body parts to help them tell you when something hurts. This is important when they cry after falling off the swing. And it’s also important when setting limits on body parts and appropriate touch.
12. Acknowledgment of change
Change is difficult for both young and old people. Don’t just take your child to school and tell them everything is fine. They can have great feelings about change: excitement, fear, and sadness are all valid things to feel. Let them know that you also have great feelings about your baby getting older. Seeing mom and dad have multiple feelings at the same time and processing the changes also helps them know how to deal with it.
When your big kindergartner is in front of you, flashes of a baby are likely to flood your brain. The old adage, the days are long, but the years are short, is so true. Use the time you have before school starts to set them up for success. Even if your child starts school in the fall, you can start working on the skills in this article. And if your child is a toddler, you can start now.
After all, there is no such thing as too much learning. Make these activities a priority. Most of them take a few minutes a day and can make a big difference in their development and maturity. Help your child start school on the right foot. The school wants your child to be happy and healthy and to continue to grow and learn just like you.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Alexander Dummer; pixels; Thanks!
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