I know summer is technically just beginning, but it’s the perfect time to start preparing your child for next school year. Many students will be transitioning to kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school, as well as college, so I thought it was a good time to repeat my Five Things series.
First up, five things your child should know before starting kindergarten.
Her full name. I served as a long-term substitute teacher for first grade 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 ten eyes. Make sure your child knows his 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, which has been jazzed up since I was a kid. 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, your child should not just know you as Momma or Daddy or whatever they call you. It’s imperative that your child knows your full name just as well as they know their own.
Thanks to coronavirus and many schools being closed or on a hybrid schedule, I know you might be tired and ready for a break from teaching. I see you, and I want you to know you are appreciated for all you do. If you take a few minutes today to help prepare your child for the new school year, it will be worth it.