1. Allow your child to dress her/himself. It hardwires eye-hand coordination, balance and strengthens hands. Schedule enough time in morning and at pickup if your child is in daycare to accomplish this skill.
2. Allow your child to feed her/himself. Your child should be eating with a fork, and cutting with a knife at the table. Assisting with meal preparation encourages vocabulary, strengthens hands, and might even encourage healthy eating.
3. Read to your child daily. This is essential to building vocabulary and early reading skills. Turning pages strengthens fine motor skills.
4. Get outside and allow your child to run in safe open spaces. Allow them to climb. Doing so encourages confidence, strengthens gross motor skills, and strengthens hands for printing.
5. Talk to your children. Have conversations that require thoughts and more than simple yes or no answers.
6. Use wax crayons instead of felts for coloring. Felt markers do nothing to strengthen hands. Buy coloring books and encourage coloring inside the lines to strengthens eye hand coordination.
7. Don’t jump in too early to solve your child’s problems. Allow them to learn to independently problem solve. Encourage your child to do more for her/himself.
8. Play follow the leader so that your child knows what to expect when a teacher asks the children to line up.
9. If you know your child is shy, preschool programs are an excellent method of ensuring that your child won’t be overlooked in a busy kindergarten class. Experiences outside the home encourage confidence in managing different environments. Try to ensure your child is exposed to a variety of experiences prior to kindergarten.
10. If your child requires time for transitions, work on shortening that time. Teachers do not have time to wait for Junior(ess) to decide on when to start or finish required tasks.
11. Work on empathy and manners. The “treat others as you wish to be treated” works well for future years in school.
12. Ensure that you attend all orientation ps for kindergarten and maintain contact with your child’s teacher throughout their school years.
Preschool programs can assist you with preparing your child for kindergarten. Children learn how to function in a classroom setting and thus kindergarten is not such a big shock. If your child is attending a daycare, ensure that the daycare has an age appropriate program geared to getting four year old preschoolers ready for kindergarten. Check that the program instructional portion of class is not a mixed age group of 3-5 year olds. Three year olds are not ready to tackle the skills required for kindergarten. They should not be expected to listen, play or learn at the same level as a four year old. Nor should the older ones have to wait for a wee three to “get over” whatever the “issue of the day” these toddlers are experiencing at the time.
All parents want their child to do well in school. Too many parents think that preparing their preschoolers for kindergarten simply involves their child knowing ABC’S, numbers and colours. They couldn’t be more wrong. Here’s a checklist of skills your four year old should be able to do by the time he/she enters kindergarten. If your child does not have these skills right now, don’t panic! But it is time to get to work before September. Your child can accomplish a lot of these skills with time and pat on your part.
CHECKLIST FOR KINDERGARTEN ENTRY
1. Can your child dress her/himself independently? This includes boots, shoes and coat.
2. Can your child speak to a teacher and communicate needs?
3. Can your child attend to toileting independently?
4. Can your child listen and follow three oral instructions and carry them out with minimum assistance?
5. Can your child draw shapes? Circles, triangles, etc?
6. Can your child sit on the floor without flopping over or leaning? Why? It signals weak core muscles if they can’t sit without flopping over.
7. Can your child join in independently to play with other children?
8. Can your child hold a crayon in the “tripod” grasp or does she/he “fist” colour?
9. Can your child open/close snack bags independently? Can he/she hold utensils independently?
10. Can your child use scissors independently?
11. Can your child print her/his name or recognize letters in her/his name?
12. Does your child know her/his phone number? Address?
13. Can your child hop? Jump? Balance on one foot?
Did you know that your preschooler should have a vocabulary of 4,000 words prior to entering kindergarten? Did you know that Alberta preschoolers are behind in a variety of critical areas of development according to the latest statistics. One of those areas is vocabulary.
Daily Reading to your child is vital to building the foundation for acquiring vocabulary. That 15 minutes before bedtime is an excellent opportunity to connect with your child. Your child will associate reading with love and connection. Reading stories builds vocabulary and encourages conversation beyond yes and no.
Your child also needs to see you reading books. If the only thing you read is your phone screen, how are you going to encourage your child to read?
We are in an age of googling answers to every aspect of our lives. If we have a parenting concern, we turn to google. Unfortunately, while there is an infinite amount of instant answers, I liken it to a drive through approach to gathering information. We need to slow down and pick up a book. Make sure your child sees you reading that book.
Building vocabulary in preschoolers also involves conversations at meal times, in the cars, bedtimes and at every opportunity. The first five years are the most critical for developing and hard wiring a preschooler’s brain. Get your child thinking and solving problems independently. It takes time.
I know. In Calgary, time is never your friend. From the opening alarm at six to the rushing home to eat and then somehow fit in quality teaching time before bed is an impossible situation. This is where you add in your “village” to assist you.
Preschool can add that extra layer of enrichment in building vocabulary and yes reading stories. A good preschool program incorporates a variety of activities to hard wire that little brain for kindergarten. Yes, it can be a crazy time trying to get to preschool and yes a good preschool program is costly. But that ten months of crazy is an investment in your child’s future. Don’t shortchange your child. Get reading and discover the joy of books.
There are several schools of thought on how candy is handled by parents.
There is the “doling out” one piece at a time. This works if you have a child willing to abide by the one piece per day rule. However, there are children who decide one piece isn’t working for them and then there is the inevitable sneaking and denial scenarios. It becomes a tiresome battleground for all. Over the years, I have observed that children with limitations on candy/sugar tend to be the ones where “both hands aren’t enough” in wolfing down the sugar at every opportunity.
Next up is the trading candy for toys etc. This is a much better scenario in that the child is getting a reward and it won’t involve rotten teeth. This works very well for children with allergies as well. They can take part in the fun and still be safe.
Finally, there is my personal favourite. Let the children eat however much they want. No limits. A lot of parents are convinced their children will never limit themselves on candy. I promise you that the vast majority will have eaten their fill inside of a day. Yes, he/she may eat so much their tummy hurts or worse throw up. But! In reality this is a life lesson with natural consequences. Your children will not do it again and you will not be the candy police. Nor is your child’s teeth going to rot with a couple days of sugar. It is the long term diet that counts.
At Think Sun Preschool, we deliberately schedule a lesson on teeth and how to be healthy the day after Halloween. We have a tooth model and we talk about brushing away the sugar bugs sticking to teeth. The children are very aware of healthy snacks and have excellent ideas on how much candy is ok. We talk about how much their tummy holds by having them look at their clenched fist. We then demonstrate that they need to fill it with healthy food first and then have the treats.
Parents have many more important battles ahead in raising healthy humans. Battling over Halloween candy should not be one of them.
Happy Halloween everyone 🎃😊
Playdough is an excellent fun activity for preschoolers. It strengthens little hands and prepares them for printing.
Instead of buying playdough, you can make your own no cook playdough. Adding different additives increases the fun factor. Your child can roll long ropes and use scissors to snip off pieces.
This particular playdough keeps well in ziplock bags and doesn’t necessarily have to be refrigerated. Here’s our Think Sun Thanksgiving pretend pumpkin pie recipe.
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
Orange gel colour mixed in 2 cups of boiling water
1/4 cup oil
Pour boiling water and oil over dry ingredients and combine. I have used a food processor or a mixmaster and even just mixed by hand. It will look liquidy but keep mixing until it forms a dough. Cool. Give the child rolling pins, and foil tart tins. Enjoy! They always giggle when I tell them to tell their mommy or daddy that they can’t eat it even though it smells yummy🦃😊
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE🦃🌞