How to Prepare My Child for Kindergarten

As a former Kindergarten teacher I am used to people asking me "How do I prepare my child for Kindergarten?" After teaching Kindergarten for 7 years and having a 4 year old who will go to a Transitional Kindergarten next school year, I have come up with a list of tips I think would be helpful for parents to help their child prepare for Kindergarten.

10 Tips to Prepare For Kindergarten

  1. Read, read, read, and read again to your child!
    • Reading to your child is proven to help them with their vocabulary and print concept. While reading, you can talk about letters, words, sentences, numbers, etc.
    • Talk about what you read to work on comprehension.
    • Let them turn the pages.
    • Be goofy and try to read the book upside down or starting in the back so they know how to read a book correctly.
    • Discuss the illustrations.
    • Allow them to finish sentences or complete a rhyme.
  2. Work on problem solving skills
    • I know it can go against every instinct, but don't always help them.
    • Give them the time and space to figure out things on their own.
      • If they can't put a puzzle together, don't run to help.
    • Encourage them to keep trying.
      • You will be amazed and so will they about what they can actually do.
      • In teacher terms we like to call this having a growth mindset- an "I can" attitude instead of "I can't."
  3. Teach them independence!
    • Your child should be able to clothe themselves.
      • This includes socks, shoes, coats, zippers, buttons. etc.
    • They should be able to use the bathroom independently.
      • This includes wiping and then pulling their pants and underwear back up.
  4. Cut and Glue
    • You would be amazed at how many kids enter kindergarten with no clue how to use scissors or glue.
      • Let your child practice cutting scraps of paper holding scissors correctly.
      • A little song I used in the classroom was "Two fingers on the bottom and the thumb on the top. Open the mouth and go chop. chop, chop."
    • Let them practice gluing with both a glue stick and dot glue.
      • This one is hard for me as a mom in my clean house but I just have to let it go and know that it will all be cleaned up later.
      • For dot glue I always used these 2 poems in the classroom, "dot, dot, but not a lot" or "A dot will do, a dot will do. more than that is too much glue."
  5. Teach them how to open lunch containers
    • If you are sending it in then they should be able to open it- apple sauce, ziplock bags, containers, etc.
  6. Be able to recognize their written name
    • You can make this fun this summer by helping them write and recognize their name to prepare!
      • Have them write their name on a sticky or paper and read it each day in preparation to school beginning!
  7. Be able to write their name
    • They can write with all uppercase letters, half upper & half lowercase.
      • They will eventually learn how to write their name correctly.
  8. Help them with Peer Conflict Resolution
    • Give your child the opportunity to navigate social situations on their own.
      • Take them to the park, have play dates, etc. but let them be independent.
    • Obviously step in when needed but give them the space to figure it out.
      • Discuss the importance of forgiveness and kindness and provide examples.
    • Say sorry to your kids when you mess up.
      • This demonstrates that you are not perfect and everyone messes up.
      • The important thing is that you apologize.
  9. Follow multiple step directions
    • Start by giving them simple tasks with basic directions and then slowly increase the amount of directions.
  10. Just know they will be okay!
    • I know it is easier said than done but try not to worry!
    • Your child will learn!
    • Enjoy your time and relationship with them and try not to stress about what they do and don’t know.
    • Each kid learns at their own pace.

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