It’s hard to believe it’s already time to start thinking about heading back to school. I started thinking at the beginning of the summer about the things I wanted to teach my daughter during this break to help prepare her for middle school. It got me to thinking about things she has needed to know for each stage of her life, so I’ve decided to do a Things Your Child Should Know series. First up, what your child should know before he or she starts kindergarten.
Her full name. I served as a long-term substitute teacher for first grade a few years ago, and I can’t tell you the number of stories I heard about kids who started kindergarten who didn’t know their birth names. Many of them were used to being called a nickname. Calling your child Lovebug may be cute around the house, but it’s not so cute when he goes to school and is staring at the teacher like she has two heads when she calls him by his real name. Make sure they know their first and last name, and if you really want to step it up a notch, they should know how to spell them both too.
How to tie his shoes. My daughter has been tying her shoes since she was three or four. Was it easier and faster for me to do it for her? Yes. Seeing those lopsided loops messed with my sensibilities, but seeing the sense of accomplishment on her face when she did it herself was worth every second of me biting my tongue. Plus, look at it from the teacher’s perspective. If you have a classroom of 20 kids and none of them know how to tie their shoes, the teacher will spend most of the day doing it for them. I have taught countless kids how to tie their shoes. I found it helpful to sit them in my lap so I see the shoe from their perspective. I then put the child’s hands on the laces and go through the motions with them until they get the feel of it, then I let them try by themselves. If you’re not sure how to teach your child, there are plenty of YouTube videos available.
Her alphabet. Your child should be able to recite the alphabet from A to Z, and she should be able to recognize the letters. This is all about repetition. Sing the ABC song. Write down a letter and ask her what it is. Eventually they catch on.
How to count to at least ten. Learning numbers is about repetition too. Say them and write them over and over until your child recognizes them.
Your full name. If your child ever gets lost and someone asks your name, they should not just know you as Momma or Daddy or whatever they call you. It’s imperative that you child know your full name just as well as they know their own.
There are so much more a child should know by this age, but I think knowing this will mean he or she is off to a great start for excelling in kindergarten.