If your child is one year away from Kindergarten, here are the three most important areas of development.
You can control some of these behaviors but not all of them. With a little attention and commitment, you can use the time you have to better prepare your child for Kindergarten.
This comes from someone who brings a singular focus to parenting: common sense. I do not hold a Masters degree in child psychology, I’m not a physician nor am I a best-selling author in the parenting self-help category (yet).
If you are a parent with a child starting pre-school this week and you are one year away from taking him/her to his/her first day of Kindergarten, this is written for you. There are three core tenants to focus on that will better prepare your child for their inauguration into the world of formal education. They are shared below in order of priority:
Socialization: If your child spends quality time at the playground, embraces a wide range of friends and has exposure to a variety of personalities, you’re likely ahead of the game. When your child has the confidence to play with new kids, it provides a leg up later in life. When they have the means to resolve conflict on their own, sans adult intervention, it represents maturity. When they are exposed to a wider range of personalities, hyper behavior, and have the means to identify risks and potential danger, their foundation for schooling is stronger.
The broader their perspective, the better, and given the social conditions he/she will face in grade school, socialization is by far the most important. Your child will strengthen other areas of cognitive skills as time goes on so, for now, prioritize this in the year ahead.
Respect for Authority: Kids will push their limits whenever they have the chance, but when it comes down to classrooms, team sports and broader family gatherings, respect for authority is important. Relying on some innocent Kindergarten teacher to straighten out your kid does not represent their primary mission: that’s your job. If he/she are negotiating with you on minor issues, that’s normal. If they continue to push harder and harder then it’s time to tap the brakes and ensure they understand who’s the boss.
If your son/daughter is in a ‘time out’ more often than not at home or in pre-school, kneel down at their level. ‘See that teacher/coach? They are the boss. Pay attention and listen to what they are telling you, always. Got it?’
Rinse and repeat so they know who’s in charge in the Kindergarten classroom on day #1.
Curiosity: It’s rare to find a child who is not curious in nature, which is one of nature’s greatest gifts to humanity! Let them explore and dig into a subject. If they continue to ask questions around a particular subject, take a book out of the library that touches on the subject and read it to them. Promote autonomy if they are playing with a toy but struggle to build something in particular. Provide some suggestions, then back away in the lead up, time wise, to Kindergarten.
Let them try to figure it out and if they have a knack for building or interest in science, promote it. I suggested in an earlier post to check out Kiwi Crate, which stemmed in part from our experience with their monthly-subscription service.
I credit my wife with Kiwi Crate – it was her idea and my son looks forward to new projects whenever the box shows up at our door.
On a final note – immunizations. Don’t believe the hype coming from those who profess vaccines are the root cause of autism and other ailments. Speaking on behalf of my family, where my great aunt was crippled from Polio, Mr. Jonas Salk’s vaccine trumps all the bullshit from the anti-vax camp. Let’s roll back the tide of measles that is spreading in part from children who are exposed and vulnerable in our nation’s classrooms… due in large part from parents who do not vaccinate their children.