Kindergarten is one of the first steps towards formal education for children, and it can be a significant transition for both parents and their little ones. Kindergarten is not only about learning the alphabet, numbers, or socializing with other kids. It is an essential stepping stone in a child’s development, providing them with the foundation for future academic, social, and emotional success. Therefore, it is important to start preparing your child for kindergarten well in advance to ensure a smooth transition.
At Southwest Human Development, the non-profit’s goal is to support parents in all stages of their child’s development from zero to five years old. Here are some tips from their Birth to Five Helpline team to help you get your child ready for kindergarten:
- Encourage Independence: Kindergarten requires children to be independent, believe in their capacity to do self-care activities on their own (like washing hands, putting on shoes, taking off their jacket), and able to follow instructions. You can encourage independence by helping your child learn how to dress themselves, use the bathroom, tidy up after themselves and practicing separating from the parent for a short period of time.
- Reading: Reading is an important skill to develop for kindergarteners. You can help your child develop reading skills by reading to and with them every day, pointing out letters and words around them in books, advertisements, on the street, and encouraging them to be curious and participate and initiate early literacy activities.
- Social Skills: Socializing is a big part of kindergarten. You can help your child develop social skills by arranging playdates with other children, taking them to the park and local library, helping them practice sharing toys, taking turns, and enjoying play with others.
- Writing: Writing is another important skill for kindergarten. You can help your child develop writing skills by practicing holding a pencil and crayon, drawing simple shapes or letters, writing their name and family members names.
- Numeracy: Numeracy skills, such as counting and recognizing numbers, are also important for kindergarten. You can help your child develop numeracy skills by counting objects, pointing out numbers, and playing number games.
- Routine: Kindergarten can be a significant change in routine for children, so it is helpful to establish a consistent routine well in advance. A routine will help your child feel secure, comfortable, and know what to expect.
- Immunizations: Ensure your child is up to date with their vaccinations before starting kindergarten. Check with your doctor to see if any additional vaccinations are necessary.
Southwest Human Development’s Birth to Five Helpline is staffed with early childhood development experts to assist with calls of kinds, including kindergarten preparation. This important time is an ongoing process that begins before your child starts school.
“As a parent, you play a crucial role in getting your child ready for this exciting next step. By encouraging independence, developing literacy and numeracy skills, nurturing social skills, establishing a routine, and ensuring your child is up to date with their vaccinations, you can help your child adjust to kindergarten and make the most out of their learning experience,” said Ana Arbel, Birth to Five Helpline Senior Program Manager.