This year we have #3 heading off to kindergarten, and what a difference between #1 and #3. With our first, she was anxious, nervous, and seemed unready (and so were we). Our third has been ready since the day he turned 5. So was it something we did? Here are some of the things we have learned since #1 to help prepare our kiddos for kindergarten.
1. Talk about it. Start talking about it when they turn 5, and help them understand that in the fall they get to go to kindergarten. Help them understand the routine.
2. Be positive. Make sure that you don’t show any of your anxieties to them.
3. Prepare. Get them involved in choosing the things they need from their supply list, backpack, clothes, etc. Get it early to give them more time for them to think about it.
4. Skills. Work with them on the skills that will help them be successful. These include: using scissors, holding a pencil correctly, knowing the alphabet and numbers, being able to write them, and introduce sight words. We use Kumon workbooks and BrainQuest workbooks over the summer, and spend about 30 minutes a day on the activities.
5. Go see the school. Get them familiar with it, even if you can’t go inside, play at the playground and let them get comfortable with it.
6. Preschool. Even a little bit of preschool helps. This will get them familiar with the routine of parent drop off, following directions and playing together.
7. Orientation. Make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to attend the kindergarten orientation at your school. Call them ahead of time to be sure you’re on the mailing list.
Starting elementary school is a huge milestone for kids and parents, I hope these steps help you too!