Thursday, December 2, 2010

Is Your Child Ready For Kindergarten?

Are your children ready for kindergarten?There are some things parents can do in the early years to help a child be confident and eager to learn when the first day of school rolls around.

Be your child's first teacher: Help foster a curiousity toward learning by playing with your children and exploring the world around them. A visit to the park can yield a study of nature -- focusing on sounds and sights gets children observing, thinking and asking questions.

Communicate with your child: Activities as simple as reading to children or talking to them often help develop strong oral-language skills. Use picture books or toys to encourage children to explain what they're seeing. Reading stories every day also teaches children to listen and then explain what they've heard.

Encourage independence: Kindergartners have to be independent enough to do simple tasks, such as washing their hands on their own. Can your child blow his own nose? Cover her mouth when she coughs? While it may be easier to do some tasks for children, educators stress allowing children to do things for themselves when safe to do so.

Playing well with others: Learning to share and wait their turn is essential once children start school. Parents can help their children by encouraging them to express what they're feeling. Praise your child if you catch him sharing with others. Find opportunities to help your child problem-solve through conflict, such as a fight over a swing at the playground.

Help develop strong fine-motor skills: Craft projects or simple chores around the house can help a preschooler prepare for school by developing the fine-motor skills needed for writing. Stringing cereal like Cheerios on a pipe cleaner to make bracelets develops muscles in children's hands that will then be used for writing.

Recognizing basic letters and numbers is important. It does help when a child can recognize letters and count to 10 before she goes to the kindergarten. Parents can do their part by pointing out letters to children as they go along their days, and by encouraging counting out things during play.

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