It’s the question that’s on every parent’s mind: How can I make sure my child is ready for kindergarten? It’s a highly important question to ask, because studies show that your child’s success in kindergarten is an indicator for their success in every other grade, and even the rest of their life. Granted, it’s not the only factor, and it’s not a guarantee, but it’s of the utmost importance that your child gets the jumpstart they need in their earliest and most formative years.
Yellow Brick Road offers infant care, toddler child care, preschool, and Pre-K for families in the Twin Cities area. With child care centers in Plymouth, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, and Eden Prairie, it’s never been easier or more convenient for your family to set up a tour. Give your child the best start in life — enroll with Pre-K at Yellow Brick Road!
We’ve talked in previous blogs about what your child should know before they enter kindergarten. Today, we’re going to provide some tangible ways in which you can help them be ready to enter elementary school.
Your child should be able to say their first and last name when asked, as well as spell their first name (with a capital letter) by the time they get to kindergarten. While they’ll definitely practice these skills at Pre-K or in preschool, it’s also great to reinforce these skills at home. Here are just a few ideas for working on various academic skills in fun ways with your young one:
- Practice writing with a variety of materials. Using sidewalk chalk outside, painting with water on the driveway, markers, glitter glue — the options are endless, and your child will love them all!
- Play lots of games. Whether you do a letter or number scavenger hunt (in which your child needs to find things in the correct order) or play letter or number hopscotch (in which they jump in the correct order), your kiddo won’t even realize they’re practicing essential academic skills.
- Be transparent. Let your child know that it’s essential to practice their academics before they get to school, so that they take some ownership early on over their school experiences. Of course, playing school is a pretty fun way for kids to also stay engaged, and most kids love pretending they’re with the big kids at school.
Being socially ready for school is so important — some researchers would even say it’s more important than being academically prepared. If your child isn’t quite at the level of social preparedness you’d like, don’t feel dismayed. Social interaction, the ability to form positive relationships, and overall maturity don’t just happen overnight, and every child has their own path.
However, it’s still a good idea to keep some goals in mind of what your child should be striving for. There are plenty of things you can do to help your child continue growing in their social skills at home and in other settings.
- Using the bathroom. Your child should be able to use the restroom on their own before going to kindergarten. If they’re still struggling with this, make sticker charts, celebrate and encourage their successes, and consider talking with their pediatrician to ensure there aren’t other issues, or to simply get some other ideas on teaching bathroom independence.
- Sharing and taking turns. Enrolling your child in child care or Pre-K can be one of the best ways to help your child get the social preparedness they need before kindergarten. In Pre-K, they’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice with their peers (who are trying to learn the same things they are!) in a supervised and encouraging environment.
Role-playing with your child is also a great way to practice sharing skills and taking turns. They’d likely feel upset if they never got a turn (and if they have siblings, they’ll have plenty of context for what this feels like!), and a preschooler is just at the age where they’re starting to develop their empathy. Have conversations about fairness and practice social situations so that your child is more prepared for kindergarten and beyond.
- Following directions. Following 2-3 step directions at this point in time will be crucial, because kindergarten teachers will have this expectation for their students. You can help your young one by playing games — many games have 2-3 step directions, such as roll the dice, move your token, and pick a card — and giving them directions for cleaning up, getting ready in the morning, taking the dog out, and more.
- Being apart from parents. If there are tears on the first day of kindergarten, that is totally normal — and if those tears are just your own, you are also fine! The first few days or even weeks might be a little rough, but that should ideally be because of an “adjusting to new situations” thing, and not a “can’t handle separation” thing.
Again, enrolling your child in Pre-K is a great way to help them (and you!) practice with this new period of separation. It can be very difficult, but raising independent children are one of the best ways you can help your young one prepare — not just for kindergarten, but for all the years after. As always, having conversations with your kids and talking about their fears and working through these are some of the best tools you as a parent can have.
There’s a lot to do before the first day of kindergarten! Luckily, Yellow Brick Road can help. We have educational child care, preschool, and Pre-K that’s designed to help every child succeed. Set up a tour at one of our four locations today!