Starting Kindergarten can be an exciting time for a child as they step out into a new phase of independence. As a parent, you might worry how they will cope being away from you for longer periods of time, or how they will handle their new independence. How can you help prepare them so they can be as ready as possible for Kindergarten?
The reality is that students are entering a situation where things will be new; new faces, new places and new experiences which may take some getting used to. The good news is there are some simple ways you can help ease this adjustment for your incoming Kindergartener.
Reading aloud with your child is a wonderful introduction to their own reading journey. Enjoying books together builds a positive connection to reading and books. Reading to your child also exposes them to words and language which increases their vocabulary and gives them more tools to communicate which will only serve to help them as they step out in building friendships.
“We read with our children because it gives both them and us an education of the heart and mind. Of intellect and empathy. We read together and learn because stories teach us how to love.”
― Sarah Mackenzie, The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids
Lunch room fun.
Take some time to introduce your child to the lunch box or snack containers they will be using at school. Teach them how to open and close them without help. This gives them confidence and a familiarity with part of this new routine. Perhaps use their lunch box and water bottle for some picnic lunches at home in the lead up to Kindergarten and introduce them to any new foods that you are planning to introduce into their lunches. Help them practice tearing open their fruit snack bags, or other items which you have likely been opening for them until now. Of course, teachers or lunch supervisors will be on hand to help but having your child be as independent as possible is a great gift, both to your student as well as their teacher!
Buttons, Zippers and laces, oh my!
Working with your child on self help skills is an important way to ensure they are prepared for more independence at school. Have your child try on any new school uniform or clothes to ensure they can undo and do up any fastenings, this will help them feel confident and hopefully prevent unfortunate bathroom situations. Making sure they can fasten their coats or jackets so they can be warm during recess as the days get cooler is another great skill, and working with them to tie their shoe laces or find alternate fastenings that allows them to be independent during the day if shoes come undone.
Get those little fingers moving.
Any activities which help define and strengthen a child's fine motor skills are going to benefit your incoming Kindergartener. Threading beads, using play tweezers, and rolling playdough are just a few ideas. These fine motor skills will serve to ensure students can participate fully in classroom activities and daily tasks alongside their classmates.
Easy as one, two, three.
Number awareness is another skill you can work on to prepare your child for the fun awaiting them in Kindergarten. Counting the stairs as you climb them before bed, counting how long a red light takes to turn green when you are sitting at the light, or counting how many blocks they can build into a tower, are all great ways to increase number sense for your child.
Of course this list is not exclusive, but we hope this is a helpful tool for anyone with an incoming Kindergarten student.
Please share in the comments any tips or tools you have for preparing children for Kindergarten!
Look at this precious picture of our Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Warren on her first day of Kindergarten!