10 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten

July 3rd, 2012 by admin

Starting to attend school is a milestone for both kids and parents alike. It’s simultaneously an exciting and scary time when your child first goes off to kindergarten, and you both will probably be a little overwhelmed.  Teaching your child about what to expect will make going off to kindergarten a whole lot easier for both of you.

As you prepare your child for kindergarten, consider these 10 tips:

  1. Teach him the alphabet. The building blocks of reading are the letters with which all words are built.  Kids start learning the alphabet song when they are 2 or 3 years old, and make sure that they can say the alphabet without singing the song as well.  Ask them questions such as: what letter comes after “P” or before “Z”? This will help ensure that they truly learn the alphabet, and haven’t just memorized the song.
  2. Help him recognize his letters. Once he learns to say his alphabet now he needs to learn what those letters look like.  Show him letters in a book and write letters on a big piece of paper for him to see.  By hanging the letters on the wall in his room he will be able to look at them whenever he wants and he will start to recognize them.  Work on only a few letters at a time as it can be overwhelming.
  3. Teach him to print his name. It’s very important that your child can print his name before school starts.  On the first day of school, the teachers will ask everyone to label their items with their name. They will be taught early on that the first thing they do with any worksheets that they complete or projects they finish is write their name on the paper.
  4. Read to him every day. Children love being read to and they learn while they listen.  There’s a rhythm that is used when reading; the varying inflections of your voice help a child understand sentence structure without him even realizing it.  For example, your voice drops at the end of every sentence, or, if the sentence ends in an exclamation point, your voice might get louder or more excited.
  5. Work on increasing his attention span. Children who have not attended preschool or daycare may not have the attention span of their peers who have.  Paying attention when the teacher is giving directions or teaching a concept is very important.  By playing games with your child you can help increase his attention span.  When you read to him he is using his attention span as well, so start reading stories that are a little longer.  Knowing what is expected of him at school will make going less scary.
  6. Show him how to tie his shoes. Now that there are slip on shoes and Velcro shoes it may not seem as important to teach your child to tie his shoes, but if you ever plan on putting your child into tennis shoes for gym class, he will have to know how to tie his shoes at some point.  The teachers will help, but they don’t have time to tie 22 pairs of shoes every day.
  7. Make sure he knows his parents full names. This seems like a no brainer, but it’s amazing the number of children that don’t know their dad’s name isn’t Dad.  It will come in handy for your child to know what his parents’ names are.
  8. Practice learning left from right. Many times a day teachers will reference a child’s left or right.  It will make his life a lot easier if he can differentiate between the two.  When teachers are moving the kids from one classroom to another, they will have times when they will direct them to turn to the right or to the left.
  9. Help them learn the sounds that letters make. There are MP3’s and CD’s available with little songs that make it easier to remember what a letter sounds like.  There’s even a video called the Letter Factory that works through the sounds that letters make in a song. 
  10. Work on counting and number recognition. Letters are not the only thing that kids will need to know.  Play games with your child where you count things everywhere you go.  How many steps are there from the kitchen to the bedroom?  Have him help you at the grocery store by putting 5 oranges in a bag.  Once he’s comfortable counting things then you can show him what numbers look like.  Teaching him his address is also an important lesson and it uses both numbers and letters.
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One Response to “10 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten”

  1. August 06, 2012 at 5:21 am, Mary said:

    This is a very handy list. You may want to add a PS make sure they are comfortable enough toask to use the bathroom before it is too late.