Five ways to prepare your Toddler for Kindergarten

Five ways to prepare your Toddler for Kindergarten

I’m a big advocate for early childhood education.  As a former teacher, I’ve seen firsthand the benefits that it has.  Children who have attended pre-school tend to be more social, participate more in classroom discussion, have better fine motor skills and are often slightly ahead academically.  However, attending pre-school isn’t always an option for everyone.  To help to ensure children are still prepared for Kindergarten, there are some simple things that can be done at home with them.

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1. Expose your child to social situations – I joined a new mom meet up group when my son was four weeks old.  From that moment on we were constantly going to play dates and other social events where he had time to interact with other children and adults.  This not only helps them to be more comfortable and outgoing but it gives them a chance to learn how to deal with concepts such as sharing, and problem solving.

2. Provide an abundance of learning resources – There are so many great learning toys on the market these days.  Some of our favorites are the Leap Frog series, books, and good old puzzles!  Make sure that you are participating with your child especially at first.  They need to understand how the toy works or what the book says before they can independently practice with it.

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This Scout dog is one of my son’s favorite learning toys lately and after reading a few times with him, showing him how Scout works, he will happily sit by himself while Scout reads him his stories.  It is also very interactive with touch directions, songs and lessons about feelings.  Don’t have the money to shell out on learning toys?  Don’t worry!  There is a lot of learning that can be done with some good old paper and crayons.  Write out the alphabet on paper and have them stamp a letter as you call it out.  Hide letters or numbers around the house and hunt to find them.  Hop online and play a free learning game on sites like Fisher Price or PBS Kids.

3. Allow time for imaginative play – You may not realize how much your child is learning and growing when they are off playing trucks in the dirt but they are!  During imaginative play children have a chance to practice social situations, adult roles and sometimes play out fears.  There are a ton of ideas on Pinterest to encourage imaginary play. No Time For Flashcards  and Imag ination Soup are a few really good ones to help get you started.

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4. Involve them in physical activities – Encouraging your child to be active will prepare them for school in several different ways.  For one it’s obviously beneficial for their health and teaches them the importance of being active for good health.  It also helps them build muscle control, balance, and coordination.  Lastly, as they learn new skills such as kicking a ball, they gain self confidence which will help them both socially and academically.

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Even on a “Too cold to play outside” type of day, physical activity can easily be squeezed in each day.  From a dance off in the living room, to riding bikes indoors something to get them moving is better than nothing!

5. Help them build fine motor skills – Teaching them the ABC’s and how to count are pretty self explanatory.  Teaching them how to cut or hold a pencil can sometimes get forgotten.  Fine motor skills can be strengthened by simple activities such as playing with play dough, using child safe scissors to practice cutting play dough, picking up small cotton balls with clothes pins, or tearing paper.

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Questions – 

  • What would you add?  
  • Do your kids go to preschool or will they?  
  • What’s a worry you have about the current education system in your state? 

 

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Comments

  1. Great post. I love your creative ideas with kids. I think the play grocery store is a fabulous idea and I am definitely going to use that with Ava. Right now she is too young for preschool/kindergarten but she has play dates and gets to come to my work daycare a few hours per week so I think that helps her be social!