Transitioning to kindergarten can be an exciting, anxiety-filled time for children and their parents. If you have older children, you may have an idea of what to expect or know the kindergarten teacher already. Still, the transition is different for each child, and while one may have adjusted well to kindergarten, your next child may not adjust as easily, or vice versa. By focusing on the present and adding skill-building activities to your summer, your child will be more confident about becoming a kindergartener.
Summer is a time for having fun, playing with friends and bonding as a family. Incorporate enjoyable activities that stretch your children’s imaginations and exercise their brains.
On hot, humid or rainy days, head to the library and read some books together. Have your future kindergartener read to you as much as possible. The librarians typically have lists of age-appropriate books.
Getting Fresh Air and Exercise
- Have your children help you create obstacle courses in the backyard that they can run, skip or jump through safely. If it is a hot day, you can set up the sprinkler for added enjoyment!
- If your children ride a bicycle with training wheels, ask them if they are ready to practice riding without the training wheels. By letting them decide when they are ready, they learn to make decisions, face challenges and fears and take on responsibility.
- Hit the pool. See whether your local municipality or YMCA pool offers swimming lessons over the summer. Summer is a great time to work on swimming safety, keep physically active and have fun with your children. Besides, who doesn’t love cooling off in a pool on a hot summer day?
- Take your children camping or hiking. Children love exploring nature and running free. Having a backyard campout or setting up a tent at a campground in your region are fun, educational ways for families to bond. You may be able to find a spot that offers easy hiking or walking trails or one with a lake where you can rent a canoe or kayak.
Bowling is an opportunity to develop hand-eye coordination, balance and math skills while having fun. Many bowling alleys offer bumpers and child-friendly bowling balls for children. Over the summer, many locations offer free games for children every day, plus they are air conditioned!
Keeping Up with Friends
If your child was in preschool or a play group, keep in touch with their friends’ parents and plan out weekly or bi-weekly play dates or outings. Kindergarten can be overwhelming for children because they are meeting so many new children. Keeping up with your children’s preschool friends over the summer will help them continue developing the social skills they will need to make new friends.
Skills for Your Future Kindergartener
Children should be proficient in several skills when they enter kindergarten. You can help your child practice these skills throughout the summer. Your child should be able to do the following:
- Grip a pencil, marker or crayon correctly;
- Use child-safe scissors, glue and paint;
- Identify sight words;
- Play independently for a few minutes;
- Use complete sentences when speaking;
- Recite his or her full name, address and phone number;
- Write his or her first name in uppercase and lowercase letters;
- Sort objects by shape, size and quantity;
- Get dressed independently.
These skills do not need to be mastered by the first day, but they are general skills that your child can practice throughout the summer.
Keep It Simple. Cherish Summer.
Summer is a time for children to have fun and play. You can keep their anxiety over starting kindergarten at bay by focusing on friends, family and fun while sprinkling in some skill-building activities. The first day of kindergarten will be here before you know it. You and your child will be ready to take on the challenge!