Family Life: How to help your children get ready for kindergarten

By CHELSEY BYERS

As I was gearing up to write my article this month, I read an article by my co-worker, Cara Allen, that I wanted to share. If you are a parent, grandparent, or childcare provider of a child entering into kindergarten next fall, you might want to read on to help them prepare.

Many parents worry about what and how much their children should know before they enter kindergarten.

Help your children develop these skills:

— Naming and identifying letters, numbers, shapes (squares, circles, triangles).

— Counting from one to 10.

— Labeling and identifying the primary colors (red, blue, yellow).

— Recognizing their printed names.

— Printing their first and last names.

If you decide to work with your child in any of these areas, remember to make it fun. Make learning part of your day — and point out interesting words and numbers during your activities. In this way, you and your child are working on academic readiness.

An equally important area of concern is social readiness. At school, children must get along with other children, especially in large groups. Some children face these issues quite early in child-care settings. When children have stayed at home or have been in small child-care settings, this transition can be more challenging.

You can help your child develop social readiness by using the following strategies:

— Create opportunities for your child to play with other same-age children.

— Encourage your child to think about how others feel.

— Practice sharing and taking turns.

— Practice positive ways your child can express her feelings, especially strong feelings such as anger, frustration or even exuberance.

Going to kindergarten is an important milestone. Successful transitions made early in life pave the way for the ones that come later. Just a little attention, interaction and forethought from a parent can help to prepare and ease a child's adjustment to kindergarten.

With three months before school starts back up again, there is still time to work on (any or all of) these tips from Allen to help better prepare your child for kindergarten.

For more information on this topic or other family life-related topics, contact Chelsey Byers at the University of Illinois Extension at 333-7672 or clbyers@illinois.edu.

Sections (1):Living
Topics (2):Education, People

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