- Lisa Cooseman, OTR/L, MS
5 Strategies to Prepare Your Child for School
Whether your child is beginning Preschool or Kindergarten, it is no doubt a HUGE transition for you and your child. Preparation for this big change can lessen stress and anxiety for each of you. Here are 5 strategies to help your child:
1. Pretend Play
Playing school with your child will help them to understand the expectations of their school day and gain a better understanding of the concept of school. Have your child engage in the activities they will experience during their school day. Try sitting down for circle time, eating a snack out of a lunch box or snack bag, and reading a story at “nap time” to replicate the classroom they will be going to. You can be the teacher to model and then let your child give it a try.
2. Working on Independence
Promote independence with your child’s self-care skills. Teaching kids to clean up when they get toys out, put their plates in the sink after mealtime and getting dressed on their own are recommended skills to facilitate independence. They may not complete them perfectly, but praise them for their attempt.
3. READ, READ, READ!!
Check out your local library or book store for books about preschool and Kindergarten. Here are a few that we really love:
• The Night Before Preschool by Natasha Wing • Maisy Goes to Preschool by Lucy Cousins • D.W.’s Guide to Preschool by Marc Brown • On My Very First Day of School I Met… by Norman Stiles • The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing • Kindergarten Rocks by Katie Davis • Curious George’s First Day of School by H.A. Rey • Off to Kindergarten by Tony Johnston
4. Field trips
Schedule a time to visit your child’s school. Visit the playground, their future classroom, or just walk around the hallway. Let your child get acquainted with their teacher. You may also want to think about taking pictures on your visit and make an album out of them. This will allow your child to really get to know the people and places around their school.
5. Fun with Friends
Working on turn taking, sharing, and playing cooperatively can help your child begin to know how to navigate social situations in school. Your child will continue to develop these skills throughout their childhood, but giving them opportunities to socialize with peers can help give them confidence in handling these situations.
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