The time has finally come, and as a parent, you are probably wondering how to prepare your child for kindergarten. Kindergarten is an exciting time for little ones, but it can also be a source of anxiety for them, at least at the beginning, considering they are leaving the comfort of your presence to go be with strangers. Regardless of age, everyone is skeptical about change. This is why it is important to prepare your child for kindergarten adequately and put things in place for them to feel comfortable in the care of others when they are away from you.
It takes time for them to adjust to the new routine, but you can make it easier for them by following certain guidelines and steps. These are some of the best ways to prepare your child for kindergarten.
1. Read to them
This is perhaps the best thing you can do for your children to help them quickly develop communication and language skills. You need to focus on repetition, rhythm, and rhyme if you want to succeed in this venture. When you find a book that your kid loves, you should read it to them over and over again. As you are doing this, use your fingers to trace the words, so they understand the pattern that is required to read a book. This is also an excellent opportunity to bond with your kids.
2. Teach them good Manners
It is important to prepare your child for the outside world. In kindergarten, they will find themselves in situations where they need something and require the assistance of the teacher or caregiver. It is crucial that they understand the polite and correct way to ask for help and show appreciation. Teach them to use words like ‘please’, ‘may I’ and ‘thank you’ in their requests.
3. Playing with others
Try to introduce them into situations where they have to share a space or a toy with other children. This helps them understand how to interact with their peers, communicate, take turns, and solve problems together. These are essential social skills to start developing as early as possible with children
4. Letters and Sounds
You experience words practically everywhere around you, so you can expose your children to these words and sounds in any given scenario, such as during a walk, when playing, or while shopping. Point to these words and objects and slowly sound the words to them, so they can mimic the words and make associations. Encourage your children to interact as much as possible with their environment.
5. Boost their self-esteem
Whenever your child does something right or good, try to praise them in words and tell them you are proud of them. Constantly engage them in conversation and answer all their seemingly incessant questions about everything and anything. A curious child is a reflection of his or her cognitive and emotional development.
6. Schedule a visit to the kindergarten
Before starting kindergarten, you can plan a visit to tour the campus with your child. This will give your child the chance to get familiar with various areas, such as the classroom, the playground, and even the cafeteria. You can also meet the teacher and introduce your child to him or her before the big day. Some kindergartens will set up an orientation program that takes care of this, but you can also schedule your own visit.
7. Structure before and after school activities
Ensure your child gets used to the structure of before and after school routines. Let them understand where they will be at specific times and what they are expected to do in those times. Have a backup plan for every time something doesn’t go according to plan. You might find yourself running late to pick them up from school, so you must have a backup plan in place to account for this time gap.
8. Go school shopping with your child
The kindergarten teacher will give you a list of supplies your kids will need, and it is a good idea to go shopping for these items with your child. Let them pick out the colors they want and the styles they are drawn to. Kids generally are excited about new school supplies, and kindergarten goers are no exception.
9. Cut down on nap times
Slowly wean them off frequent naps, so they are ready for the full day at kindergarten. They will still have the occasional naps, but it needs to be limited to a frequency that aligns with the expectations of the new environment.
There are many tips you can follow to prepare your child for kindergarten, and the list above is by no means exhaustive. You can also refer to these materials that will help in their transition to kindergarten:
- “Curious George Goes to School” by M. Rey & H.A. Rey
- “First Day Jitters” by J. Danneberg
- “I am absolutely too small for school” by L. Child
- “I love school!” by P. Sturges & S. Halpern
- “Leo the Late Bloomer” by R. Kraus
- “Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten” by J. Slate
- “Mr. George Baker” by A. Hest & J.J. Muth
- “The Kissing Hand” by A. Penn
- “Will I Have a Friend?” by M. Cohen
At Rhodes School for Performing Arts, we have mastered the art of helping children transition into kindergarten, a structured environment, so there is little left for you to worry about. You can rest easy, knowing your child will be cared for by a professional staff in an organized and safe environment for them to learn, play, and interact with the world around them. When you are ready to enroll your child with us, click here.