Parents, teachers, and health-care professionals know that our children need to be well-rounded, and that while paying attention to academics is important, we need to also foster social, physical, and emotional development. How can you best prepare your child for starting school?
Here are four recommendations to help smooth the transition:
- Talking: From day one, take time to talk with your child. Whatever you are doing together, use your words to describe, explain, and answer the questions that will come with increasing frequency as your child gets older.
- Learning: At this stage, children learn from whatever they are doing. Of course it's important that they are exposed to the ABCs and 123s, so find opportunities to identify letters and count whenever possible. Also expose children to science, history, geography, and the arts, including music, dance, and visual arts. Take advantage of libraries and museums, which have wonderful resources and programs for in-person and online learning.
- Sharing: Working together really is important in kindergarten, college, and beyond. An important first step to preparing for starting school is to practice sharing. Sharing encourages the use of good manners and lots of opportunity to say "please" and "thank you."
- Remembering: Children like to keep track of what they have learned and accomplished. Help your child write stories about experiences and talk about likes, dislikes, and interests.