With the start of Kindergarten just a few weeks away, here are some easy activities you can begin doing now to prepare your child and give her a fresh, exciting start in August or September.
Separation anxiety occurs just as much for a kindergartner as it will for the parent. Whether your child has been in full-day day care or or playgroups, she’s likely been away from your side for a few hours in the past. But over the summer, it’s easy to fall into the side-by-side habit.
To prepare both of you for drop off at an unfamiliar new “home”, find a few places where you can drop your child for a few hours. She’ll learn to cooperate with others, engage in new surroundings and listen to a different adult voice, while you’ll get a bit of time for you, and raise faith that your child can survive without you, and you without her.
A FEW PLACES TO PLAY AND LEARN:
- Local gym play areas offer drop-offs for members and non-members. Most offer unstructured or structured time, and many will offer short term camps. Try the YMCA, MyGym, Gymboree, or The Little Gym, or a place local to your area.
- Local art centers are great for children who thrive on using their creativity. Most offer drop-off classes during the summer for a few hours at a time, often during weekdays and weekends. These programs offer excellent opportunities for kids to learn to respect adults and other children, as well as learn to follow directions and create on their own.
Visit the library
Whether your child is already reading, sounding out her sounds, or continues to figure out the alphabet, the library is a must-visit this summer before kindergarten. Here she will be reminded of rules similar to school, such as inside voices and walking with purpose. And, of course, the opportunity to select books of her interest will help to prepare her for making choices and learning more about herself, so that she’ll know a few new favorite things when it’s time to meet others.
Even those attending neighborhood schools won’t know everyone in her class, so this summer plan to find a few new friends to schedule a playdate with. Ask neighbors if they know of others who will be in kindergarten with your child, put together a Facebook group for local moms to join and start planning. The park is a great place to plan a weekly meet-up to get to know the children.
Also, call your school guidance counselor before she leaves for summer break. She’s likely heard of a few other incoming kindergartners who would like to make some new friends before September.
Stay on a schedule
Certainly, it’s necessary to be on a sleeping and waking schedule the week before school begins, but it’s not a bad idea to start that schedule sooner. A natural cause for stress, children notice when things are changing, and a sleeping schedule is a big change. If you enforce a steady sleeping schedule all summer, it will be one less change to make come fall.
Learning is everywhere!
Remember that there are teachable moments everywhere. Whether you’re grocery shopping (math in price tags, reading in brand names, social studies and community in the store and environment and science in mixtures!) or taking a roadtrip (maps! directional signs! “how much farther?!”), consider the questions you’re asking and the ideas around you and right in front of you, all the time. The more you look for opportunities to learn with your child, the better prepared she’ll be.
Kindergarten is a fun year that packs a lot in, but, most important, it’s a year of growth for both the child and the parent. Remember that your child will feed off your emotions, so do your best to be excited for your child’s first day and first experience with school.
You can do this!
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© 2015, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.