6 ways to get your child ready for Kindy
My parent friends are always asking me how they can best prepare their children for kindy. I can understand that it might be scary for some parents as their children get ready for the beginning step in their schooling journey. I've been working in Kindergartens for over 6 years now and have found that by exploring your everyday activities more in depth, and from a different perspective, you can help your child get ready for Kindy in no time!
1. Get social
If your child already attends daycare, then they will be interacting with other children. If your child stays at home, then this can be a bit more challenging. However, there are plenty of ways to increase their exposure to other children such as taking them to a playground or the library. They will be in an environment where they can play with other children, which helps them to learn sharing and turn taking skills.
2. Read books with your child
Reading with your child is one of the most important early literacy skills your child can have. Let your child explore books and show them how to hold the book and turn the pages. Talk to your child about the book. Explore what is a word and what is a picture. Ask them questions about the story like, who was your favourite character? Or, what was your favourite part of the story?
3. Explore language with your child
Talking to your child exposes them to conversational language skills, but take it to the next level. Talk to them about your thoughts, your schedule and what is happening as you make your way through the day. Be sure to talk about your emotions as your go through the day. Tell your child why you feel the way you do. For example tell them “I feel happy when you eat all your dinner.” Or “I am excited about going to the park.” This will provide your child with new vocabulary that they can use to speak and describe what they did and felt during their day.
4. Personal care
It’s often easier to help your child get dressed or put their shoes on for them as you race to get out the door in the morning. It’s important that children are able to do these things before they start Kindergarten. The best approach is to take a step back and let them do it themselves. You may need to adjust your schedule and get up 5 minutes earlier, but it is these skills that will teach your child independence and also give them a sense of achievement.
5. Your child’s independence
Your child will be expected to not only spend time away from you, but also to make decisions and complete tasks without your input. For many children, this is a massive change and even the most independent children can find this a bit daunting. Help them, by stepping back a little and let them take on a little more responsibility. Ask them questions to help them think about the challenge they face and work out how to do it for themselves. This will also give your child a confidence boost and teach them it is okay to take risks when learning new tasks.
6. Work on your child’s fine motor skills
Pens, pencils, crayons, markers, and even scissors! Your child needs to learn how to use them. As adults, we easily forget that these simple tasks were activities we once had to learn how to do. It’s important that children who are entering kindergarten have enough exposure to these tools so that they can continue to develop their skills at kindy. Manipulating blocks and toys, as well as threading and playing with play dough, all help build a child’s fine motor muscles. Children need plenty of opportunities to draw, colour and be creative as this helps expand their mind, as well as their motor skills.
So my advice to you is to encourage your child to be independent and use their language skills as well as giving them the confidence to have a go. These are the things that will help your child havea great start at kindy!
Laura is a Kindergarten Teacher at St Benedict’s Catholic School, Burdell. Laura has been teaching Kindergarten for 6 years, and has previously worked in Early Childhood Education. She enjoys watching how much the Kindergarten children learn in a year and the fact that no two years are ever the same in teaching.