A child’s readiness for school is a combination of many skills that fall under many different domains of learning—including physical, academic, and social/emotional skills.
Many of these skills occur naturally, but there are ways to help their development along. If your child is ready to conquer these milestones, there are certain things that you can do to give them the boost that they need for school readiness by exploring the activities that you already do with them on a day-to-day basis.
Making sure your child is ready for school is a great way for the both of you to feel more secure when you make the leap into preschool or kindergarten. A child who’s ready is a child who’s confident in who they are and what they can do, and that makes you, the parent, more confident to see them spread their wings.
Keep reading to learn more about the four tips that we have to share that will help you get your child ready for school.
1. Promote Reading
Reading is something that you should be doing with your child every single day. Not only does this teach them about the art of storytelling and the concept of reading, it also creates a routine of bonding time for the two of you.
Along with sharing stories, you can also encourage your child to take a look at the way books are made and what they’re composed of. During story time, let your child hold the book and look at it, giving them space to be curious. This way, your child will learn the front of the book from the back and discover for themselves how to hold it and which way to turn the pages. This will also help your child hone in on their fine motor skills, which will be a great asset to them in school.
As you read, use your finger to trace the words that you’re saying aloud to help your child differentiate between pictures and text. After they master this skill, you can start pointing out certain letters and, eventually, words.
2. Explore Language
You’ve probably spent a few years consistently talking to your child to introduce them to language, and that’s great. Now it’s time to take language to the next level with your little one. In order to help your child get a firmer grasp on language, talk about your thoughts, the schedule that the two of you follow throughout the day, and what’s going on in both of your worlds. All of these new ideas and conversation topics will introduce your child to a wider vocabulary and expanded thought.
Encourage your child to use language in the same way by asking them to talk their way through a task—this is a good way to gauge their problem-solving skills as well. Once they start school, it’s always helpful to have problem-solving skills that are refined and can be put to use at any time.
3. Teach Independence
No matter what age they’re entering school, your child is expected to spend time away from you—whether that’s for a full day or a half day. In order to do this successfully, they’ll need to be equipped with a certain degree of independence, like being able to make decisions and complete some tasks without your input or guidance.
For many children, even the most independent, this is intimidating and the transition can be tough. You can help ease them into it by taking a step back and allowing them a bit more responsibility within the routine that they’re already accustomed to.
There are few ways you can do this: Dropping your child off at a playdate instead of sticking around, or leaving them with a babysitter for one or two nights a week while you’re gone for a couple hours.
4. Develop Routines
In order to make the school transition less scary, it’s a good idea to talk about it beforehand—even months before it actually happens. Discuss with your child what they can expect and what a school day entails. Getting input from older siblings, friends, or relatives can help a child feel excited for the next step instead of daunted by it.
Visit the school grounds to get a feel for the building and the classroom, and introduce your child to the playground. This will help them feel more comfortable once the big day comes.
Go through the morning routine of getting ready and getting to school, no matter the mode of transportation. Helping your child feel comfortable and secure in the routine, with no guessing games, is the key to a stable transition.
It’s also a good idea to establish a steady sleep routine so your child is well rested. A few weeks before the first day, start the school year bedtime by going to bed thirty minutes earlier each week.
Your School-Ready Child
Heading off to school is a big step for parents and the child. In order to keep it as stress-free as possible, follow these tips and take things as they come. After an adjustment period, your child is sure to love their new normal.