August 31, 2012

Smooth Move Through Kindergarten

My kids are just finishing up their first week of school and I know most other schools around the country have started or will start soon. With so many of those students having their first "real" school experience as kindergarteners, I'm excited to have a guest post today from the wonderful Susan at Kindergarten & Preschool for Parents & Teachers.  Susan has years of experience in the classroom and the following advice is perfect for your new kindergartner (and your older kids too!)

You took the dramatic steps of enrolling your precious child in kindergarten. Now what? After shedding some tears, put away the tissues and realize that your child still needs you for a Smooth Move through Kindergarten. Can you say that fast? It might be rather difficult for your child to say if teeth are missing. Here are some ways you can help in the school year:
1. Focus on Your Child: When you are with your child, give him or her your undivided attention. Turn off the techno gadgets, including phones, and communicate. This special time may be before he leaves for school, while you are driving to school, playing before dinner, helping with a bath, or snuggling while reading books in bed. Ask questions about their day such as:
  • What is your favorite thing to do at school?
  • Who do you like to play with?
  • Did you eat your lunch?

2. Play outside: When your children come home from school, they need to unwind, relax and play to release stress and exercise.  

3. Communicate with the Teacher: Keep the lines of communication open with notes, email or conferences and notify the teacher of any changes in contact information or stability changes.

4. Check Your Child’s Backpack every night for notes to sign or homework to complete.

5. Volunteer a few hours a week, if possible, as a classroom helper or offer to do some projects at home. Take part in classroom parties, school fundraisers and field trips.

6. Read books.Young children should be in bed by 7:30 giving you some time to share books and talk about their day. Limit television and video games before bedtime. This may excite your child making sleep more difficult. The best way to have your child get a good night’s sleep is to spend the last part of the day with them, reading books and communicating.

7. A Good Night's Sleep and Healthy Breakfast are essential to a productive day at school.

8. Avoid Rushing by getting your child to bed early and rising early enough to have a nutritious breakfast. The backpack can be prepared the night before.

9. Encourage Responsibility and Independence: Work on tying shoes and memorization of your home address and phone number.

10. Teach Children to Respect Authority and follow the school rules. Don’t criticize the school or teacher in front of your child but arrange a conference time with the teacher should you have concerns. You may be able to solve problems by email or phone before a conference is necessary. It is best to approach the teacher first to solve problems before talking to the principal.

Many child development specialists agree that reading every night with your child is the most important activity you can do. It will promote literacy, a love of reading, bonding, emotional fulfillment and increase your child's vocabulary and reading skills. Because many children are playing less outside, I would like to emphasize that playing with your children is a close second.
If you are still fretting over whether or not to send your child to kindergarten, click Kindergarten: Enroll or Wait? There is a free on-line test that may ease your worries. I really like this free printable which can be enlarged from Growing a Jeweled Rose. Perhaps it will help you and would certainly make a nice gift for any teacher.


For a glimpse into Kindergarten see my book, a number 1 bestseller in PreK/K on Amazon Kindle:Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents   Would you like inexpensive ideas, activities, and games to teach your children through play? Mommy with Selective Memory and I wrote a number 1 bestseller in Motherhood on Amazon: The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn .

Let Children Experience Childhood.
What other suggestions to you have for your child to have a successful kindergarten year?

{ Thanks so much, Susan!  I love the tips and even those of us with older kids can appreciate the advice for a great school year.  Speaking of having a great year, I love your recent post on Bullying ~ lots of great information.  Thanks for sharing.  ~ Laura }


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