With increasing cost of childcare, some families choose to keep children home until a certain age. But the Department of education provides families with children ages 4, three free hours of Pre-Kindergarten to prepare them to enter into a class setting. Coming from being home all day and being in a childcare or a classroom experience can be a crazy transition. So here are some tips to helps families take their leap with their child.
Make playdates for your child with other children the same age.
Learning how to socialize with other children is something I try to tell all parents to allow their child to do before they start with any childcare or school especially children who stay at home. You might think playing with other children is not necessary, but it is so, especially to help your child with how to treat others and listening to others. Being able to express how they are feeling and being able to work through confrontations. I try to remind parents that they are not going to be to be everywhere, every time to catch everything that happens to or with their child. So, it’s best to teach your child how to socialize with others instead of whining and crying. My number one rule when a child is interacting with another child is to speak up and speak loud. If it hurts, you tell them that it hurts. If you don’t like what they are doing, you tell that you don’t like it. If you don’t want to play with someone, its ok just say not right now maybe later. When all else fails, meaning that if that other child is not stopping then go and tell a grown up, but first we use our words not hands nor whining or crying.
Give your child self-sufficient things to do.
Allow your child to be a helper, a helper of themselves and a helper for you. Let them wipe the table, put their clothes away, and put on their own clothes. I am a sweet, but a hardcore 4-year-old teacher and I tell parents this all time. Pre-Kindergarten is to be a DIY classroom. A teacher should be able to show you how to do something a couple of times but after that, it’s the child’s turn to try and do. ECE teachers should be preparing children for kindergarten, emotionally, physically, socially and mentally, so that means everything they do has to be intentional so as parents should. A child would have to get their own lunch and sit down at the table eat and then throw away their own trash.
Make a schedule for your child.
There is a time for this and there is a time for that. That’s what a schedule helps your little person understand. Time cannot always be spent doing one thing and taking all day on one activity. With a schedule, your child begins to learn how to transition from doing one thing and going to the next thing. Us parents wonder why its so hard to leave the house to go somewhere with our children because the things that we are doing in the time framed that we do have is not managed.
Make a sitting time apart from a nap.
Make a time for your child to sit and listen. Make a time for sitting to just watch something. Make a time for sitting just to be quiet. A short period of times you would start with first like 5 mins, 10 mins and so on. I know that children have a short attention span, but have you ever notice that their attention span becomes longer for things that they are interested in. The whole sitting time is to practice waiting and listening. The key is to move distractions at first and then to bring distractions back in the view. So for instance, after you were trying things with your child without your child a good distraction be your phone rings. You turn away to speak for 10 minutes or so, you are able to walk away from your child with something that keeps them occupied with them getting up or going somewhere else until you come back.
Create a free choice organized play area.
Free choice means a child gets to play with anything that they prefer but it being organized is the whole point. When playing in an organized play area your child begins to understand that everything has a place to go when they are finished playing with it. This will help a child to keep their area clean and to clean up after themselves. It will also teach sorting, matching and categorizing all unintentionally.
Have planned learning activities with your child.
A planned activity can be anything from a craft, a computer game. An alphabet, color or numbers activity which causes the child to enjoy doing things that are not necessarily what they want to do. When the time for learning comes because it’s being done at home it won’t be as hard for a teacher to get your child to learn how to trace rather than playing in dramatic play. Even though playing in centers is a great hand on approach with a play and learn idea but eventually, that play idea stops because they are growing up. Have conversations with your child.
Talk with your child, ask them questions, if they don’t answer correctly, tell them the right way. Give them meaning to words and to statements if they don’t understand. Start off with 3 to 4-word sentences and have them to repeat what you say. Clarify and sound words out for them. There are always opportunities to have conversation especially when your child is always asking for something.
Read, Read Read–
Reading opens the world to your child. It allows them to go on adventures and learn about everything. So, get books about different things, with different themes. Themes like clouds, rain, frogs, colors, birds, because this increases their knowledge about things and their increases their vocabulary.
Know their Numbers and Alphabet.
Nowadays most children know their alphabets and numbers by the time they are four, what I don’t expect is for them to know them by sight. If a child does, great, if a child doesn’t great too, There are a million of alphabet songs so a child can learn how to say them. Counting experience is everywhere and there are many songs to help teach your child to count from 1 to 10.
Tell your child your name.
If anything, ever happens to your child whether in your care or someone else care they need and must know your name. Your name is not Mommy or Daddy if they get lost. Some children find it actually hilarious and exciting when they find out that their mom and dad haa a name other than mommy and daddy. It also helps them to understand that everyone has a name, a first and a last name.