By Barbara Pronin
Going to kindergarten is a huge step in the development of every child – even those who have had the experience of preschool. For the most part, children in kindergarten will be expected to follow stricter routines, take socialization and communication skills to a higher level, and be motivated and ready to learn.
Most schools have cut-off dates – deadlines by which a child must be a certain age – in order to enter kindergarten. But age is not the only way to measure your child’s readiness. Use your own intuition, and consult with her preschool teacher, doctor or child care provider to determine how well she is able to listen and communicate, get along with others, and master simple skills.
What else can you do this summer to ensure your child’s readiness for kindergarten and his potential to succeed? Child development experts at Mayo Clinic suggest seven steps you can take:
Keep your child healthy – Be sure she eats healthy foods, gets plenty of sleep, and is up to date on immunizations.
Develop routines – Choose regular times for your child to eat, play and sleep each day. This will help him know what to expect and what's expected from him.
Encourage basic skills development – Work with your child to help her recognize letters, numbers, colors and shapes.
Read, rhyme, and play games – Make story time and reading daily activities. Rhyming and playing games together are important for learning development.
Promote learning experiences – Look for opportunities to broaden your child’s horizons. Visit a museum. Take them to the theater. Enroll them in a summer art or science program.
Encourage socialization – Sign her up for group activities, such as summer day camp or library programs. Encourage her to share, practice taking turns, follow simple directions and express her feelings.
Talk about kindergarten – Visit the school together. Attend an open house if available. Build excitement and lessen your child’s anxiety by explaining what the kindergarten routine might be like.