Off to a Good Start
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Off to a Good Start!
Ways Parents can Help Their Children Get Ready to Begin School
A Big Day is Coming … And It’s Very Exciting!
Your child is about to start school! Here are some activities that you can use to help your child get ready for school. You’re not only your child’s first teacher; you’re also a partner in his education-both in the classroom and at home.
Build a Love of Learning
- Play thinking games such as I Spy or Guess Who?
- Celebrate and praise her efforts.
- Challenge him – work together on that difficult puzzle.
Prepare your Child for Classroom Success
- To help your child become independent:
- Practice using good table manners at meals.
- Have her dress herself. Be relaxed and playful – practice tying shoes, putting on boots and zipping jackets.
- Let her practice using the bathroom (including hand washing.)
Teach Your Child to Get Along with Others
To help your child build social skills:
- Invite other children to spend time with your child.
- Practice sharing. Help your child think of what to say and do when another child wants his toy.
- Talk about feelings.
- Don’t always let him win.
Build Your Child’s Motor Skills
- Color and draw together. Keep pencils, crayons and paper within reach so that they are easily accessible.
- Show her how to use safety scissors – have her clip coupons for you.
- Practice tying shoes.
- Make macaroni necklaces with yarn.
- Play catch.
- Teach your child how to eat with chop sticks.
Help Your Child Develop Language Skills
- Talk with your child – discuss your day, have conversations at meals.
- Make up stories – use puppets to act them out.
- Introduce new words. “This ice cream is delicious!”
- Sing the letters in your child’s name. Sing the alphabet song.
- Recite familiar nursery rhymes, poems and songs or make up your own.
- To develop your child’s writing skills:
- Provide lots of things to write with – from chunky crayons to markers.
- Let her help you write the shopping list or a letter to Grandma.
- Have her write alphabet with sidewalk paint or shaving cream.
- Play office – have her address envelopes and “write” letters
To promote reading readiness:
- Read to your child every day.
- Keep books so that they are easily accessible. Also provide magazines, newspapers and maps in addition to books.
- Label a few objects that are meaningful to your child such as “bed”, “window”.
- Make letter cards – play matching games with capitals and lower case letters
- Have your child make up a story based on the pictures in a book.
- Read for pleasure yourself – show him that reading is important.
- Visit the library – attend the story time together. Get him used to sitting quietly to develop listening skills.
- To help your child use technology wisely:
- Set limits on the amount of time your child spends watching TV and playing computer and video games. Make sure that the shows, the computer and video games are age appropriate.
- Watch TV with your child and talk about the program.
Open the Door to New Experiences for your Child
- Celebrate your heritage – help your child learn about his background.
- Explore other cultures. Attend a community festival. Try ethnic foods; listen to music from other countries.
- Take your child to visit places in your community such as the airport, the post office, the fire station or even the car wash. Then talk about what you see.
Foster Your Child’s Creativity Through the Arts
- Get messy – do finger painting, make collages, play with clay.
- Make a picture to music – what fun to make a painting while listening to classical music.
- Expose your child to different types of music.
- Act out stories together.
- Encourage your child to count – for example, count the number of eggs in a carton or the stripes on his jacket.
- Talk about patterns. For example, set down a fork, a spoon, a fork and another spoon and talk about what comes next.
- Study shapes. Help him draw a square and a rectangle. How are they alike? How are they different? Find examples of shapes around the house or outside.
Help Your Child Develop Critical Thinking Skills
- Ask “why” questions such as “Why do you think we can’t see the moon tonight?”
- Ask “What happens next?” after reading a story.
- Talk about concepts like more, less, empty and full. Play “sink or float” – fill a bucket with small objects and ask “Which might sink? Which might float?”
- To teach your child self-discipline:
- Offer choices. Milk or juice? Blue shirt or stripped? Show her that she can’t have everything she wants, but she does have some control.
- Give her responsibilities. Have her pick up her toys or put her books back on the shelf.
- Have her practice sitting still. Remind her to sit quietly at dinner or during library time.
- Have her follow predictable routines during the day. It may make her less impulsive.
- Praise her when she behaves. Tell her that you “appreciate that she is acting like a big girl.”
- Avoid tantrums. Regular routines will help you avoid tantrums. Show your child that throwing a tantrum will not get her what she wants.
- Teach respect. Explain the idea of “keeping your hands to yourself” and respecting other people’s belongings.
To teach your child about good nutrition:
- Offer him a variety of foods including a mix of fresh fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products.
- Limit sweets.
- Offer water – limit juice and sweetened drinks.
- Eat together. At mealtime, be a role model for good eating habits.
- Go out and play! Experts recommend that kids get at least an hour of physical exercise every day.
- Limit TV time.
- Take a walk with your child.
- Get plenty of rest:
- Experts recommend that your child gets 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night.
- Have a regular bedtime for your child. Have a nightly routine that includes quiet activities (no TV).
The First Day of School
Here are some tips to make your child’s first day of school a happy one:
- Focus on the positive. Tell your child how proud you are of her.
- Talk about any concerns or worries she may have.
- Reassure her that there’s a bathroom at school. She can use it anytime she needs to.
- Don’t linger when you drop her off. Give a quick hug and go. Remind her that you will be waiting for her at the end of the day.
- Get ready the night before- get into a routine of laying out her clothes and packing her supplies the night before so that the morning will be more relaxed.
To become a partner in your child’s education:
- Attend back-to-school night and parent teacher conferences.
- Have high expectations for your child’s success in school.
- Volunteer at school – go on field trips, help out in the classroom.
- Read each handout that your child brings home.
- Make school a priority – schedule appointments and vacations outside of school
For more information on the early childhood program in the Buffalo Public Schools contact the Office of Elementary Education,#187, 333 Clinton, Buffalo, NY 14204 or call 716-816-4693.
33 Ash StreetBuffalo, NY 14204816-3717
More InformationPK Department
333 Clinton Street
Buffalo, NY 14204816-4693