How do I know if I am doing everything I can to prepare my child for kindergarten?
Will my child be ready?
Most parents really want their children to flourish in kindergarten. For some children, this is their very first year entering the whole new world of school and parents want to give their children the best preparation possible.Here are five things you can to do help your child be kinder ready:
- Read: Cuddle up in the evenings, grab one of their favorite books, and read it to them for the 165th time. Not only will they love snuggling up to you for some sweet nuzzling, but their developing brains will thank you! Reading to your child gives them exposure to syntax and grammar, but also gives them an opportunity to hear all the sounds of our auditory world. Another great way to practice literacy with your child is through environmental print. Anytime you see a stop sign or a sign for Chick-fil-A or Target, point it out and read it aloud to your child. This helps them to know language is everywhere and they can begin reading words they know right now.
- Number Concepts: Children have natural mathematic questions about the world. “How tall is she?”, “How old is Tommy?”, “How long is that snake?” One of the very beginning concepts for young children is merely learning to count. Yes, counting orally is essential, but using a concrete object with their counting is imperative for their number sense. Counting simple objects such as rocks outside on a walk, or marbles in a jar, or the number of bites it took to eat a cookie are all ways to making counting tangible.
- Writing: No, they do not need to be writing stories before kindergarten, but knowing how to write their first name in the appropriate capital and lower case letters is super helpful. If your child is struggling with remembering how to spell their name, making up a jingle, chant, or rhyme works wonders. It can be very simple, “W-E-S-L-E-Y, W-E-S-L-E-Y, Wesley, Wesley, Wesley!” If you want to be extra creative, you can input your child’s name into a common children’s song. If their name has 5 letters, for example, Jaxon, you could use the “BINGO” jingle. J-A-X-O-N, J-A-X-O-N, J-A-X-O-N and Jaxon was his name-o. Be as creative as you want!
- Fine Motor Development: Fine motor development is crucial for young children. Kindergartners need to be able to hold and use scissors, grip a pencil correctly, and color without using a fist grip. Providing fun activities at home can strengthen the muscles in their fingers and hands, which will help them be successful at school. You can find a list of 40 different fine motor activities here: 40 Fine Motor Skill Activities for Children.
- Outside: There are no replacements for having your child outside in God’s creation. Studies have shown giving your children plenty of opportunities to be out in nature has benefits for their mind, body, and spirit. It can boost a child’s creativity and imagination, and can lower stress levels. (Interesting tip: These benefits occur the same in adults as they do in children, so enjoy the time outside with your child!) Exposing your child to God’s handiwork not only has behavioral and intellectual value, but it has spiritual significance, as well. You can read more here in this article: Take your kids outside!