Getting Ready for Kindergarten (Part one)

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We know that getting ready to send your child off to Kindergarten probably fills you with a mixture of fear and excitement. So, we have put together a list of skills that can help your child have a smooth transition into the classroom.

Skill 1: Listening and following instructions

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Helping your children strengthen their ability to listen and follow instructions will make their transition to Kindergarten much smoother. One way that you can help your child with this is to introduce a listening signal at home. Here are some of our favourite attention-getting activities.

Hocus Pocus, I Can Focus — You say “Hocus Pocus” and then your child responds with “I Can Focus” using both hands as imaginary binoculars. Another popular ‘attention-getter’ is Mac and Cheese, Everybody Freeze.

Skill 2: Taking Turns in a Group Discussion

This is a great skill to practise with the whole family! We recommend using a talking stick or wand to make it clear whose turn it is to talk. Try passing the stick around the dinner table and have each member of the family share a story about their day. Once each person has shared, ask your child to reflect on what it felt like to wait his/her turn and how it felt to share uninterrupted.

Skill 3: Sharing

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Sharing should be encouraged through interactions with friends and siblings. Some activities require more collaboration and sharing than others. This blogger has lots of great suggestions for creative projects your child can work on with his/her playmate.

Skill 4: Caring for Personal Items

When children go to school they will need to be responsible for several items, such as their lunchboxes and their sweaters. Helping your children learn to take responsibility for their personal items will minimize frustration for them and for you. You can practise responsibility at home by making sure that your children tidy up after themselves when they finish playing with a toy, or helping pack personal items into a backpack when leaving the house for the day (snack, swim suits, etc.).

Skill 5: Moderating Emotions

Learning to moderate emotions is one of the more challenging skills that your child will need for kindergarten and beyond. There are many excellent calm-down strategies that you can teach your child. For example: take a breath, hug a teddy bear, or count to 10. Although kids may be able to recount what to do when they are upset, it’s equally important to be able to recognize what ‘upset’ feels like. This incredible video shows how mindfulness of one’s emotions is achievable at very young ages:

We hope that you find these tips helpful! Stay tuned for Part 2…

Portrait of a toddler (2 years old) with blond hair, counting with his fingers.

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For other tips, suggestions, and support in helping your children get ready for kindergarten, please contact Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space at 416.925.1225 or visit ourwebsite.

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