The question “Is my child ready for kindergarten?” may have crossed your mind more than once if you have a four- or five-year-old child. These five tips will help prepare your child for kindergarten.
1. Develop reading comprehension. In addition to reading a story together, talk about the parts of a book. This can include showing the cover, spine, and title page, and explaining who the author and illustrator are. After reading a story, ask your child questions about the story. Ask about the characters and setting of the story. This will help prepare your child to listen in class, respond to questions, and develop reading comprehension skills.
2. Develop fine motor skills. Model for your child how to hold a pencil and crayons. Practice writing and drawing while holding the pencil correctly. Also practice holding scissors correctly and safely. Here are videos to help model this for you: How to help your child hold a pencil correctly and Teaching your child to hold scissors.
3. Recognize letters and numbers. Letters and numbers are all around us. Point out letters and numbers as you are shopping, driving in the car, and spending time at home. For example, point out prices in the store, road signs, and numbers on the phone. Talk about the sounds that each letter makes. Also, practice counting every day. This can be while your child is brushing his or her hair, counting steps, or counting objects.
4. Practice following directions. Start by giving your child 2- and 3-step directions. For instance, ask your child to put his or her shoes away, hang up a coat, and sit down for a snack.
5. Develop social skills. Start planning play dates to help your child develop important social skills with other children and adults. This will help him or her practice: how to share, manners, communication, problem-solving skills, and taking responsibility (such as cleaning up).
If your child practices these skills every day, the transition to kindergarten will be easier for you, your child, and your child’s teacher.
To find out what your child will learn in kindergarten, check out the Parents’ Guide to Student Success from the National PTA.
Plus, take a look at these resources that can help prepare your child for the transition to kindergarten.
Also, check out these books from your local library:
- Kindergarten, Here I Come! by D.J. Steinberg
- The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing
- Off to Kindergarten by Tony Johnston