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Friday, August 13, 2010
Off to School: How to Prepare Your Young for Kindergarten

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By Michael K.

Class Room

It may still be summer, but the next school year is just around the corner! Soon our children will be heading off to make new friends and learn new things. Sometimes, it’s not easy for kids – especially if this is their first year in school. In any event, it’s always good to be prepared. That’s why as good parents, we want to do everything we can to help our kids along.

Because we at GoodDeals.com have children of our own, we thought we’d share some helpful tips on getting your young child ready for their first year at school. We’ve also come across a few new and fun products on the market, and we thought you should know about them.

Psychologists agree there are three areas critical to preparing your child for their first time at school. They are:

  1. Social Skills: Going to school for the first time can be overwhelming from a social standpoint. It’s not likely your child has ever been around such a large number of kids their age at any one time. That’s why it’s important to help them to make the transition. You can do this by:

    • Taking Them to the Park: The best way to get over social anxiety is to just get out there!

    • Encourage Them to Share: Ask any kindergarten teacher – the most common source of disagreement among toddlers is lack of sharing. If you can instill in your child the value of sharing, not only will they make friends more easily, but they’re less likely to become upset when they don’t get what they want.

    • Remind Them to Talk: When they do get upset at school (and they will), it’s important for them to know how to express themselves. Temper tantrums are generally the result of not having adequately expressed one’s self. Talking through problems will help avoid more in the future.

  2. Fine Motor Skills: One of the biggest challenges a child learns to overcome in their first few years of school is mastery of their fine motor skills. These are the foundation for more complicated skills your child is likely to acquire later in his or her life, so it’s important to get the basics down. Try:

    • Arts/Crafts: Not only do arts and crafts allow your child to express themselves, but it challenges them to develop their fine motor skills. Encourage your child to paint or draw a picture (don’t forget a smock!) to help them in this area.

    • Sensorimotor Toys: There are toys, and there are TOYS. The later belong to a group of educational toys which focus on developing your child’s motor skills. Fun games such as the Magnet Express keep your child entertained while they cultivate their fine motor skills.

  3. Safety and Self-Help Confidence: When things do get overwhelming, confidence is your child’s best friend. Knowing they will take safety precautions will also put your mind at ease as a parent.

    • Practice Looking Both Ways: It’s a cliché for a reason. Teaching your child to look both ways, and ideally hold the hand of an adult, before crossing the street goes a long way toward keeping them safe.

    • Let Them Fasten Their Clothes: From an early age (remember the “terrible twos?”) children begin to assert their independence. Allow them to perform routine tasks they sometimes find challenging, but are usually able to complete such as tying their shoes, zipping up jackets, et al. will build confidence in you child ultimately encouraging them to take on bigger challenges.

    • Practice Repeating Emergency Information: While it’s unlikely your child will understand the benefit associated with having them memorize their personal information (their full name, their parents’ names, their address, their telephone number), knowing they have this information and can provide it in the case of an emergency will put your mind at ease.

We are our children’s’ biggest fans. Let’s do what we can to help them prepare for their biggest step yet: Kindergarten!

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