10 Tips for Helping Kids Start Kindergarten: #5 Self-Help

Kindergarten readiness needs to include much more than academic concerns. Before your child’s first day at kindergarten or preschool, and even if your child has already started, there are some basic points to check in the area of self-help skills. Helping your child be independent in taking care of bathroom needs is very important. Most programs for young kids have small bathrooms, but just in case, kids needs to have experience in big restrooms and washrooms, too.

girls-608x404Can your child go to the bathroom alone and take care of wiping needs? Most kids need reminders to close the door, flush and wash hands– and that’s okay. Some kids have a not-so-subtle pee-pee dance which makes it easier to check if somebody really needs to go for a washroom visit. However, not all children are comfortable letting the teacher know s/he needs a bathroom break. There can be other issues, too. Some kids don’t like the door closed, or they can’t figure out the handles, or they don’t like so many people in the bathroom, especially if it’s a big room.

boys-608x404For some children, the bathroom at home is a quiet, private space and they may take considerable time to use the restroom. School can be different. Going over bathroom issues is very helpful. Set aside some time to check your child’s confidence and independence level. Because of security and safety issues, lots of boys are used to using the women’s restroom with their moms. Some of them may not have seen or used urinals. This might be something to check. And, practice what the words Boys and Girls look like, not just the picture symbols. Just in case. Schools do not use “Men” and “Ladies” on the restroom doors.

Most children need reminders to wash and dry their hands. Some will need more than reminders, they’ll need checks: “Are you sure you washed?” And they may require prompts: Hmm, just in case, give those hands another wash. Germs can hide. The point is can your child wash and dry hands independently, rather that does. Schools sometimes seem like germ factories, so good hand washing is important.

This video from an elementary school is quite well done and may help you and your child. Who knew that kindergarten readiness could include this kind of learning?

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