Creative Child

Parenting: 8 Ways to Get Ready for Kindergarten

by Deborah Song

Is your child ready to take the first step on his academic ladder? While it's true that many kindergartens have become more academically rigorous than previous generations, the good news is that the skills he will need to acclimate and thrive haven't changed much. Kindergarten readiness is about balance, both academic and social, behavioral and mental. Here are eight parenting tips to get your little one ready.

1. Pique curiosity.

A willingness to learn is much more important than what a child may already know at this age. Is your child enthusiastic about learning? To encourage his curiosity, expose him to new and interesting things. The beach, museum, zoo, park and library all present wonderful opportunities for exciting discoveries.

2. Ability to pay attention.

There's no better way to increase a child's attention span than by reading to him. Read to him everyday, even if your child seems to squirm with worms in his pants and his mind seems to wander after you've uttered the first sentence. Choosing books that align with your child's interest will help keep him focused. So will following up parts of the story with questions. But engage more than his mind. Let him hold the book, flip pages, point to pictures and words. This will get your child comfortable with concepts about print, an important early literacy skill.

3. Follow directions.

If your child is not used to a structured classroom, simulate one by giving him simple procedures. Kindergarteners are expected to follow two-step instructions like wash hands then grab your lunch, or wait until the teacher's done speaking before asking questions.

4. Encourage Independence.

A certain level of self-sufficiency is expected in a kindergarten classroom. He will need to go to the bathroom by himself, open up his lunch by himself, feed himself, and put on his own shoes. So encourage independent habits at home before the big day. Try these 6 tips for easing first day jitters and separation anxiety.

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