This post is one of a 5-part series about preparing your preschooler for Kindergarten. Be sure to check out Paula’s other top 10 tips for getting your preschooler off to a good start.
“What letter is that?” You anxiously await a response – confident that, having sung the “Alphabet Song” for years, he is certain to give you the correct answer…”R” he states with pride as you slump in your chair staring at the neatly printed letter “T” taunting you on the page. He tells you that his friend Jacob’s name starts with a “J” and that Victoria’s starts with a “V”. You catch on and ask, “What does Tony’s name start with?” Of course he says “T” – he knew it all along but being asked directly just didn’t work for him. His way of thinking and learning is as unique as his funny little giggle and the freckles on his nose!
Wondering how you can help your unique child think and learn new things? Here’s our TOP 10 different ways to promote thinking and learning skills:
- Work together with your kids to set up “centres” at home – for reading, talking, writing, listening to music, drawing, gardening, play dough or any other activity you enjoy.
- Visit the library together and borrow non-fiction children’s books about animals, reptiles, mammals, ocean life, machines, the solar system or any topic with real-life information to be learned.
- Read together, from the books mentioned above and from “ABC” books such as Cleo’s Alphabet Book by Caroline Mockford or Z is for Zamboni by Matt Napier.
- As you play with play dough, paper and scissors or blocks, make the shapes of letters and numbers and say words that start with that letter or point to that number somewhere in your home.
- Enjoy an age-appropriate jigsaw puzzle together – praising efforts as you go!
- As you walk, bike, play or travel around your community, play “I Spy” or “detective”, taking turns spotting colours, numbers, letters and simple words (e.g., “stop” on a sign).
- Enjoy simple card games together such as “Go Fish” or “Old Maid” or just play anything together.
- Be a role model for the love of reading – sit together while you read your books or the newspaper, and help point out colours, letters, numbers and simple words.
- Play match-up games together – sorting laundry into piles according to size, item or owner; putting cutlery in the drawer, sorting and piling like items together and separating larger and small spoons and calling them “bigger” and “smaller”.
- Give loads of hugs, smiles and words of encouragement – a secure base of unconditional love, acceptance and support is the best thing for your little one’s growing brain.
Remember, you are not alone! Be sure to check out our “Kindergarten: Ready, Set, GO!” pages for lots of handy info, checklists and workshops for parents. If your child has not attended nursery school, preschool or child care, our EvenStart program is a fantastic way to prepare them for the daily routine and structure of kindergarten.
For more tips and hints about your preparing your child for kindergarten, or to share your experience, there are many ways you can talk to one of us directly:
- Leave us a comment below – we’d love your feedback
- Talk to us on Twitter: @haltonparents
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call HaltonParents by dialing 311 or 905-825-6000 for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
About this guest blogger:
Paula D’Orazio RN is a Public Health Nurse specializing in Preschool Health and Parenting with the Halton Region’s Early Years Health Program. She is an accredited Triple P Positive Parenting Program individual counsellor and trained facilitator in both Nobody’s Perfect and Beyond the Basics. She is also co-author and facilitator of Halton’s Parenting Basics group curriculum. A busy, working mom, Paula believes in living healthy and relishes her “live, love and laugh” time with her young family.
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