Series Part #6: Helping Kids Get Ready for Kindergarten Includes Knowing Names
Sometimes, as we help children get ready for kindergarten, we miss items that are so basic we take them for granted, like kids knowing their names. This is especially important if a child has been answering to a nickname, a middle name, or a shortened version because schools usually use the legal name.
To help with this, make sure that your child knows the sound of both his/her own last name. If families speak a different language at home, a name can be pronounced very differently in English. Some names sound the same in a variety of languages, but many do not. The first question that many people will ask a child is, “Oh, what’s your name?” If kids know their whole name and can answer confidently, that’s one less stress.
At school, there will be name labels on everything. Not all children will be printing their name, but knowing what their name looks like being able to recognize it gives both a comforting feeling of familiarity and a sense of accomplishment. Show your child his/her name in plain printing, starting with the first letter in upper-case and the other letters in lower-case. Let kids trace right over their name in a selection of favorite colors, sort of like a rainbow on each letter.
Some kids are not particularly interested in printing, but “pudding-letters” motivate everyone. Put a spoonful of pudding on a plate and spread it around. Take your child’s hand in yours and trace out the letters in the pudding. Finger licking is allowed. Kids can roll their names in playdough. Pour letters of a name on a pancake with syrup or squeeze ketchup into letters on a plate for dipping. Fun activities like this will assist kids in remembering how their name looks so they can find it when needed.
There are dozens and dozens of parents all called Mommy or Daddy so it’s also a good idea if kids know their moms’ and dads’ name. What other ways can kids play the name game? Maybe this play and learning could be know-name brand?