Know and Learn
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 his/her efforts.
- Challenge him/her – 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 them dress themselves. Be relaxed and playful – practice tying shoes, putting on boots and zipping jackets.
- Let them 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 the toy.
- Talk about feelings.
- Don’t always let them 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 your child how to use safety scissors – have them 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 them help you write the shopping list or a letter to Grandma.
- Have them write the alphabet with sidewalk paint or shaving cream.
- Play office – have them 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 them that reading is important.
- Visit the library – attend the story time together. Get them 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, or the fire station.
- 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 them 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 your child that they can’t have everything they want, but they do have some control.
- Give them responsibilities. Have them pick up toys or put books back on the shelf.
- Have them practice sitting still. Remind them to sit quietly at dinner or during library time.
- Have them follow predictable routines during the day. It may make them less impulsive.
- Praise when they behave. Tell them that you “appreciate that they are acting like a big boy or girl.”
- Avoid tantrums. Regular routines will help you avoid tantrums.
- Show your child that throwing a tantrum will not get them what they 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 them.
- Talk about any concerns or worries they may have.
- Reassure your child that there’s a bathroom at school. They can use it anytime they need to.
- Don’t linger when you drop them off. Give a quick hug and go.
- Remind them that you will be waiting for them at the end of the day.
- Get ready the night before- get into a routine of laying out her clothes.
- Packing 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
Tell your child that you love him every day.
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.