This past week Total Tutoring Services was featured on the CBS Baltimore Ask an Expert Series to share some advice to parents on how to get their child ready for Kindergarten. With the start of the school year right around the corner, many families will be sending their little ones off for the first time. Here are some handy tricks and tools to help your kindergartners -- and you -- get ready for the school year.
CBS Baltimore Ask An Expert
Read With Your Child
Reading with your child is hands down the most important activity you can do to help your child develop language and reading skills. Set aside a special time each day to read together. Read your child’s favorite books and rhymes over and over. Read favorites from your childhood, too. Talk to your child about the characters and the story. Let your child take more control by turning pages, pointing to the title of the book, and retelling some favorite parts of familiar stories. Visit your local library and let your child choose their own books. Then go home, snuggle up, and help your child develop a love of reading.
Build Early Math Skills
Opportunities to teach our children basic math skills are all around us! As you go through the day count the buttons on your child’s clothing as they get dressed, count how many times they can bounce a ball and count the stairs when heading up to bed. Point out numbers in print on a speed limit sign as you drive down the road or let them help you read the prices at the grocery story. Cook together and have your child help you measure ingredients. Play a board game and count the dots on the dice and the spaces you need to move. Math can be made “real” and meaningful just by pointing it out in the world around you.
Build Fine Motor Skills
Give your child crayons and paper often. Let them write letters, draw pictures or even just scribble. Drawing straight lines, curvy lines and shapes will help them to strengthen their hand muscles for writing letters and words later. Let them explore with a variety of writing options (colored pencils, crayons, markers, paint). Introduce them to scissors and let them cut up play dough, magazines, straws and yarn. You will end up with a house full of confetti along with a happy child who is more confident in his or her cutting abilities.
It’s so easy as parents to take responsibility for our children’s many, many things. There is often so much of it and kids tend to be slower and it’s easier to just do it for them. However, in Kindergarten they are going to be responsible for their own belongings and materials. Start early by teaching your child how to put away things when they are done playing with them at home. Encourage them to clean up their toys, put lids back on markers and crayons in the box. Encourage your children to take responsibility for their actions. Set the bar high, they will surprise you with what they can do.
Foster Independence and Self-Care Skills
Imagine a classroom full of 20+ kindergarteners all needing help with their zippers, buttons, snaps, tucking shirts in, tying shoe laces, opening lunches, emptying folders, etc. Welcome to the world of the Kindergarten teacher. As parents, you can do your part by teaching your child valuable self-care skills. Don’t assume that they can do something on their own just because you have always done it. Allow them to dress themselves. Practice managing all those buttons, zippers and snaps both on their clothing and on their jackets. At lunchtime give them the opportunity to practice opening containers, wrappers, bottles and juice boxes. Practice hand washing, nose blowing and coughing into their elbow. Practice, practice, practice! Your child’s teacher will love you for it.