In the the post Help! My Child is Starting Kindergarten! Now What?, I shared my thoughts as a parent on how to help prepare your child for Kindergarten emotionally, mentally and socially. Today I want to share my thoughts on helping prepare your child for Kindergarten in other ways such as cognitively, physically and more.
Not every child has gone to Headstart or preschool. My children did not go to either, and as far as cognitive development, they were right on target. Although when entering Kindergarten, there are certain cognitive and developmental skills the teacher will be looking to see if your child has. Below are a few suggestions for helping your child develop these skills.
1) Developing Fine Motor Skills – It is important that your child has the ability to hold a pencil upon entering Kindergarten. They should be able to color, cut, and hold a pencil to write.
There are many fun ways to help your child’s fine motor skills develop right at home. Practice with simple things such as using a spray bottle to water plants, doing activities where they cut with scissors and even making shapes with pipe cleaners.
2) Cognitive abilities and skills – There are many different games and things you can do to help your child enhance their cognitive abilities and skills. For example, put four red buttons on the table and three blue buttons ask your child if there is more blue buttons or red? Doing this will help your child understand between more and less. Have them count, add and take away.
Another fun activity you can do with your child is to draw different shapes in different colors and have your child describe, compare and name them. Memory games are also important as it helps improve cognitive skills. One fun activity is to put 3-4 items on a table, let you child look at them for a minute, then tell your child to close his/her eyes. While their eyes are closed, take 1 item away, and then tell them to open their eyes and guess what is missing.
3) Language development – By time your child enters Kindergarten they should have the basic language development skills down. Some of the basic skills are knowing the difference between top/bottom, over/under, out/in, before/after, large/small. Your child should also be able to listen and follow directions, including being able to perform multiple step tasks such as pick up clothes and put them in the hamper, or pick up the toy and put it in the toy box. You can practice your child’s listening skills by doing some fun games such as I Spy and Simon Says. Another fun game could be a sound game. Have your child listen to a sound of an animal and have them tell you what the animal is. You can also do sounds of cars, horns, boats ect..
More on Social and Emotional Development
It is very important your child has the coping mechanisms and has the ability to express feelings and emotions to their peers. In addition, it is important they have the ability to interact with adults and mind them. They should also be able to interact with other children their age whoich includes playing together and working together. Teaching your child to do these things and praising them when they do will work wonders and help them to feel good about themselves.
I hope this list I compiled together helps you prepare your child for Kindergarten. Most importantly remember every child is different and what one works for one child may not always work for another.