Will your child be ready for kindergarten?
Will your child be ready for kindergarten?
Before children go to kindergarten, some areas do a readiness assessment, and one item is often following directions or instructions. This can be a concern for some children and the problem is not because a child has not heard or listened to the instructions. Rather, it can be due to a lack of experience and learning. As with other thinking skills and strategies, children need time and opportunity to develop the brain connections needed for following instructions.
For young children, we should start with giving only one-part instructions first, such as put your cup on the table. Once children can cope with one part, we can include two: get your backpack and wait at the door. Often, when we give kids instructions we give them too many all at once and they got lost somewhere in the middle. It goes without saying, that short sets of instructions are easier to deal with than longer ones.
I have shared this story before, but it is a hilarious anecdote about a little boy in a friend’s kindergarten who followed instructions, more or less. Before going to school, a mother told her son that when he went to the paint center, he needed to take off his sweater and not to get paint on his clothes. He remembered parts of the instructions, but not all, “he needed to take off his… blah, blah, blah … clothes. When his teacher turned from helping another student, there was this boy at the paint center completely stripped down. He had certainly heard and listened to his mom and even got part of it right.
Simon Says is a great game to play with kids for practicing following instructions. When you give instructions at home, use different voices and accents, such as a squeaky mouse or a rumbling robot. Singing the instructions helps get kids attention and makes the directions easier to remember. Doing crafts, cooking, and simple science activities are practical experiences with both following instructions and doing the steps in order.
For a play-of-the-day and to help your child get ready for kindergarten, how about a fun activity with instructions?
On a list of things kids need to learn before starting kindergarten, you probably would not expect to see ‘Making Choices,’ but this is an important skill. You may be skeptical, but have you ever been too tired to even choose what cereal you want for breakfast? Anything will do as long as you do not have think about making a choice. That’s because choosing requires thinking and brain energy. For children, making choices is a skill that need practice and experience. Some children have much more difficulty with this than others.Continue Reading
The ability to manage risks is not just important for grownups. it can impact children’s learning and influence their getting ready for the adventure of kindergarten. Because each child is unique, some will eagerly anticipate starting school and others will be hesitant or anxious. This can be because of their willingness to take risks and try something new and unknown. Taking risks can be considered a skill or strategy and kids will need time and opportunity so they can learn from their own experiences. Each child can vary between refusal and impulsiveness, depending on the situation, and in some ways dealing with risks is also dealing with fears. Continue Reading
Not just for kindergarten, but for anything and anyone, it’s much easier to start with an “I can do it!” attitude. Since children are not born with this confidence already locked in place, it needs to be part of the nurturing of parents and caregivers to help kids get ready for kindergarten. How can we encourage the development of a positive attitude and confident outlook? All too soon, children–and adults–only feel a sense of accomplishment when something is ‘done right.’Continue Reading
There is no doubt that kids need hands-on play, but did you know that children need this play to help them get ready to start school in kindergarten? Hands-on fun stimulates all kinds of brain-connections for powerful thinking and learning. No matter if your child is at home or at a child care center, there will be countless opportunities for hands-on play. Why are these activities so important? Just as hands learn to manipulate objects, the brain learns to manipulate information.Continue Reading
Okay everybody, hands up, unless you are reading this on a hand-held device. Does your child know how to ask for help? Pretend that you are only 4 or 5 years old and just starting kindergarten. It’s a whole new place and many things are unknown and different. Is there a good chance that you will have questions and might feel overwhelmed? That’s what it’s like for kids, and the concern is that some children do not know how to ask for help or information when they need it. Continue Reading
Do you think animals are anxious too when their offspring go off on their own and separate from parents? What about self-care concerns? All parents, everywhere, have the responsibility to teach children how to be independent. Kindergarten means separating for both kids and for parents, and for some it’s the first extended period of time. As with many new situations, some practice and familiarity will help, especially those who are anxious. The issues of separation and self-care are easy to overlook as part of getting ready to go to kindergarten, but they are certainly important for children’s confidence and comfort. How do you deal with these issues for your child? Continue Reading
The world can be a confusing place for children but sometimes emotions are a big challenge, even for adults to figure out. The early years between the ages of birth and 5 years old are the most sensitive for learning about emotions and how to control them, especially before the major event of going to kindergarten. Children’s emotions can help or hinder their learning and also impact memory. We all remember events more clearly if they we felt particularly happy or frightened.Continue Reading
This isn’t a quiz or a test, it’s a thinking question. Would you say that academic achievement or social skills would have more impact on success after graduation from school? Would it surprise you to learn that it’s social skills? And how about at the other end, that of kindergarten entry? While most of us would say that academic skills are most important for kindergarten readiness and early learning, new research is showing that social skills need to be included and very most sensitive time for the brain to learn social skills is before kids start school.Continue Reading
When it comes to ways to help children get ready to go to kindergarten, you may be thinking about letters and numbers, but how about time in nature? This quote from the Center for Families, Communities, Schools and Children’s Learning explains why: “Children learn best through their everyday experiences with the people they love and trust, and when the learning is fun. And the best place for these experiences is outdoors, in the natural world.”Continue Reading