11 Tips for Getting Your Child Ready for Kindergarten by *Frances
Page Glascoe, Ph.D.
1. Language is the most important preschool skill. Talk, listen,
explore, sing, do, and read with your child.
2. Help your child learn concept words like: before, next,
top, on, over, under, middle, forward, first, middle, last, etc.
Experience these words with your child so that she understands
their physical meanings. Crawl under tables, step over chairs,
and so forth.
Emphasize these words when talking. “First put the napkins
on the table. Next, put the fork on the napkins. Third, put the
plates in the middle of the placemat.” This builds important math
skills and will help your child be better able to follow classroom
3. Take your child places and talk about what you both notice. This builds general information and vocabulary, which are important later, especially for learning of science and social studies. Visit museums, zoos, and libraries.
4. Point out sounds around you. With your preschooler, imitate the sounds of windshield wipers, animals, appliances, and musical instruments. This builds awareness of sounds and helps her learn the sounds of letters later on.
5. Read to your child every day and let him chose books he likes. Recorded books are also fun. Reading to your child helps him enjoy and look forward to learning this important skill himself.
6. Encourage your child to read or look at books just before bedtime to get in the habit of reading every day.
7. Take your child to story time at the library or book store to build a love of language and reading.
8. Do not teach your child letter and number names until she is close to four years of age, unless she is interested. For example, she is asking: “What is that letter?” Teaching letter names too early may frustrate your child and “turn her off” from pre-reading skills. Instead, just talk about letters and numbers when you see them and make sure your child watches Sesame Street every day!!
9. Put magnetic letters on your refrigerator for your child to move and play with. This helps your child learn the names of letters.
10. Point out common street and store signs, such as: Stop. K-Mart. McDonald’s. The first words most children “read” are these common signs.
11. Look at the newspaper with your child and show her
advertisements with common signs in them. This helps her
recognize signs and other words in different places, colors,
and so forth.
*Frances Page Glascoe is Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University and Penn State University, also the developer of the Parents’ Evaluation of Developmental Status screening tool – usually referred to as “PEDS.” This article, the fourth of a five-part series, Tips for Parent, is reproduced with permission of the author.