My son completed Kindergarten last school year. I was so excited for him to attend full day Kindergarten as I am not one of those moms that wants her kids to stay home forever. I believe my children need and long for the challenges and experiences provided at school. Although I provide a great deal of academic and cognitive stimulation at home, there is nothing like attending school, public or private! Please don’t misunderstand me, I have nothing against home schooling your children but I believe there are amazing developmental benefits for attending school.
In this article, I will list some great ways to get your little ones ready to attend school. For some kids, this may be their first year entering a school building. For others, they have attended day care since birth. Either way, entering Kindergarten can be an overwhelming yet exciting experience for children AND parents.
Tips to Prepare Your Kids for Kindergarten
Attend Story Time
Bringing your kids to story time at your local library or book store can help boost their attention and focus skills. It also exposes them to the general structure of story time which is a daily occurrence in Kindergarten.
Play with Learning Toys
Encouraging your kids to utilize learning toys such as those I mention in my article about Brain Boosting Toys helps increase basic foundational skills such as colors, numbers, letters and shapes. It also encourages thinking and reasoning skills.
Start a Schedule
One to two weeks before school starts, put your child on a schedule. This means have them wake up at a certain time, eat a healthy breakfast, eat lunch at a certain time, engage in academic tasks and get to bed at a decent time. This allows their little body and mind to adjust to the new routine rather than just expecting them to be okay with it the first day of school!
Visit a Playground
Visiting a playground exposes your kids to new experiences and allows them to interact with same-aged peers. It also enhances their gross motor skills in preparation for gym class and recess.
Visit the School
To help decrease some anxiety, bring your child to visit their new school. Let them play at the playground, and if allowed, let them walk around the building. You can also ask the principal if your child can see his/her classroom.
Start a Back to School Countdown
One week before school starts, implement a countdown. Each day before school starts, focus on one aspect of school such as picking out the first day outfit, going food shopping for school snacks, setting up a learning center in the house and working in academic work books.
Engage in Arts and Crafts
Let your kids enjoy coloring, painting, cutting and drawing! These are all skills that will be focused on in school so it’s helpful to expose them to these tasks before they enter Kindergarten. This can be done at home or at your local library or craft store.
Talk to Your Kids About School
Your child is nervous, but so are you! Sit down together and talk about how you are both feeling. Talk about how it is okay to be nervous but make sure your child knows that you will always be there to support them. Let them know that they can talk to you about anything that happens in school. This is so important especially with the increase in bullying even in early grades!
Read Together Every Night
This is something I have encouraged many times. Reading to your children helps boost language skills, vocabulary, focus and comprehension. While reading, ask your kids to label colors and objects as well as ask them what they think will happen next. These are all questions that will also be asked in school.
Here are 10 great books to help prepare kids for Kindergarten (contains affiliate links):
Kindergarten Here I Come by D. J. Steinberg
Melvin the Mediocre Meaty Ogre by Al Mauriello
Countdown to Kindergarten by Alison McGhee
A Place Called Kindergarten by Jessica Harper
I am Not Going to School Today! by Robie H. Harris
Llama Llama Time to Share by Anna Dewdney
The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing
The Berenstain Bears Go To School by Stan and Jan Berenstain
Monsters Love School by Mike Austin
Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
Do you know of some more great books for getting ready for school? Please let me know and I will add them to the list!
I hope this list has helped you and made Kindergarten prep a little easier! Just remember to enjoy each moment because it won’t be long before they are off to college!!