As much as I would like to push the idea of my babies growing up to the back burner, I was reminded today when talking with a friend how close Kindergarten really is. It is close enough that I started to question what am I as a parent doing to help prepare my growing toddler for school. We are choosing to do a program in our town where we go 2 days a week and homeschool 3 days a week. With this plan in place, I wanted to start getting into a routine.
How to Prepare for Kindergarten
- Set aside a specific time and place. 2-4 year olds don’t have huge attention spans. Expecting them to sit and do the same activity for an extended period of time is unrealistic. I carve out an hour of guided learning time a day switching the activity every 15-20 min. Going to the same space each day for the guided learning will help establish a routine and give a space that is inviting to learn.
- Learning needs to be a positive experience. If the activities are forced and the time is spent bribing or begging the child isn’t going to respond well to the guided learning time. We want to encourage fun and positive experiences. I try and practice not using the word no during this hour. Use expressive words, and compliment specific things a child does. Make this hour something they look forward to.
- Use technology. Keeping your child ahead of the technology curve gives them an edge. Introduce technology early, but monitor and limit the time they spend. We find that our guided learning time is a great time to let them learn in a guided play app. Our favorite app is Disney’s Mickey’s Magical Math World.This app is targeted for 3-5 year olds and really introduces the basics of counting and steps into more advanced math skills of adding and subtracting. This is an educational game that we only offer during our guided learning time so that it stays fun and fresh and the kids really love all the different features this educational app has to offer. The attention to graphics and design to make this app one of our favorite apps out there. It has everything for Boys that love space to girls that love bows! Our favorite feature of this app is that it has a place for parents called the Disney Imagicademy Parents. This has resources that I use and incorporate outside of the technology. Things to practice with your child, updates on how your child is doing, and even ways to connect to the community created by Disney.
- Let your child teach you. Every child learns in a different way, however having to teach someone else to do something stretches kids and adults alike. This gives the child a chance to role play and role reverse and take the opportunity to stretch your Childs vocabulary, imagination, and creative process skills! Ask questions and be patient and they learn to articulate ways to explain things to you.
- Have realistic expectations and goals.When it comes down to it, they are only preschoolers. This was the hardest lesson for me as an adult to remember. Not every child grasps concepts the same way or at the time that you teach it. But being consistent and patient will help create an environment that will push and guide your child towards a positive learning experience. Its ok for kids to color outside of the lines, and its ok if the glue is running off the page.
The biggest most important thing is that you are learning as a family and not only preparing them for the next phase of their lives you are helping create memories that you both will cherish.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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Stephanie Person says
Great post! I love the idea of homeschooling during Pre-k years to get a routine going. I started doing this also and it has helped tremendously. Thanks for the tips 🙂
So glad you found them helpful! Routines are so important for little ones but it’s such a fine line of not over doing it either and still letting them enjoy their childhood and learning through play!