Once your child is enrolled in kindergarten, you can start preparing him for success in the classroom. Things you can do to help your child have a successful year of kindergarten fall into three categories: things you should teach them, things you should have them do and things that you should do.
You should make sure your child knows some basic facts and how to use school supplies. Your child should know his first and last name, address and phone number. Your child also needs to know the difference between letters and numbers, how to count and the alphabet, colors and basic shapes. Learning these concepts is part of the preschool curriculum, so if your child didn’t attend preschool, you should teach your child these basic facts.
Your child should also know how to use school supplies appropriately. For example, scissors are to cut paper, not clothes or hair, and crayons are for drawing on paper, not walls or tables. You don’t have to have an elaborate arts and crafts activity planned. Just let your child use glue sticks, crayons, markers, scissors and stickers under close supervision, and explain how to use each item correctly so your child understands what to do.
You can help your child by establishing a routine bedtime and breakfast time and sending him to school with necessary supplies. You know your child’s temperament better than anyone else. You know how much sleep he needs and how much time it takes to get him ready in the morning. Give yourself enough time to have a relaxed morning before school. Also, feed your child a balanced meal that will fill him up until snack time or lunch time. Just like adults have a hard time working on an empty stomach, children have a hard time learning if all they can think about is lunch.
Make sure your child is properly equipped by dressing appropriately for the weather and classroom activities. Some children like to assert independence by choosing their clothes for the day. However, bathing suits are hard to get off to go to the bathroom, and flip flops aren’t safe for the playground. Let your child have a limited choice, such as giving him a two shirts to pick from. He can chose his outfit while you control what type of clothes he’s wearing.
As an involved parent, you should read all notes and instructions that are sent home, and follow them. Kindergarten teachers will tell you everything you need to know about school rules, field trips and special activities. If you take the time to read the notes that are sent home, then you will always know what is expected and when things are due. The teachers will also share ideas and tips on everything from simple snacks to bring to school to what kinds of Halloween costumes are easiest to put on for a school party. They have a wealth of information that they are more than willing to share, so use their expertise.
The easiest way to help your child to succeed is to read to them at home. Not only will this help your child learn to be still and quiet, but you will be teaching early literacy skills to your child. Nursery rhymes help children learn phonics, which is a basic building block for reading. More importantly, spending quiet time with your child builds a bond between you two.