What can I do to help my child get ready for school?

According to the National Education Association:

To get your child ready academically for school, you should:

  • Read to your child daily and talk about what you’ve read.
  • Visit the library.  Check out books and attend story times.
  • Sing rhyming songs and do finger plays.
  • Put your child’s name on their clothing and toys to help him or her recognize their name in print.
  • Encourage your child to write his or her name.
  • Help your child learn basic colors by pointing and naming objects like “green trees”, “red apples”, or “blue coats”.
  • Give your child puzzles and games that require counting and problem solving.
  • Let your child scribble, draw, write, cut and paste.
  • Sing the alphabet song with your child and provide letter magnets or other toys that will helps him/her begin to recognize letters of the alphabet.
  • Take your child to the zoo, park, grocery store, post office, and pet shop. Talk about the sights and sounds of your day.
  • Make time for your child to sing, dance, climb, jump, run and ride tricycles or bikes.
  • Choose childcare that promotes learning with well-planned, fun and interesting activities.

To get your child read socially for school, you should:

  • Set rules and give consequences for breaking them.
  • Have regular routines for mealtime and bedtime.
  • Encourage your child to play with and talk to other children.
  • Encourage your child to take turns and share with other children.
  • Encourage your child to finish difficult or frustrating tasks once they have begun them.
  • Encourage your child to consider the feelings of others.
  • Model and discuss positive ways for your child to express his or her feelings.
  • Discourage hitting, biting, screaming and other negative behaviors.
  • Kiss and hug your child several times a day.

To make sure your child is independent in school, you should:

  • Buy shoes and clothing that are easy for children to buckle, zip and fasten on their own.
  • Let your child get dressed and put on shoes by him or herself.
  • Let your child do simple chores like setting the table at mealtimes or cleaning up toys after playing.
  • Encourage independent toileting and hand washing.
  • Let your child work independently on activities such as completing puzzles.

To make sure that your child can communicate his or her thoughts and feelings in school you should:

  • Have regular conversations with your child.
  • Encourage your child to listen and respond to other when they speak.
  • Answer your child’s questions, even if the answer is ‘no’.
  • Help your child learn and use new words.
  • Explore language through singing, rhyming, songs and chants.
  • Model the language you want your child to use.
  • Write notes to your child.
  • Help your child dictate letters to family and friends.

And while we’re not the National Education Association, St. John Child Development Center says that to help your child grow spiritually:

  • Pray together before and after meals and at bedtime.
  • Pray when you are happy. Short prayers are perfect.
  • Pray when you are sad. Talk about your feelings.
  • Thank God out loud for your blessings – “Thank you, God, for this beautiful day/happy song/loving family.”
  • Go to church together and sing your hearts out.
  • Read your child’s Bible with him or her and talk about the stories.  It’s ok if you don’t know all the answers.
  • Let your child see your relationship with our Savior.