Help your youngster prepare for kindergarten with these valuable tips.

As the parent of a preschooler about to move up a rung on the ladder of education, you’re probably feeling just as excited and enthusiastic as your child. You may also be feeling a little nervous or concerned, especially considering the rocky changes the COVID-19 pandemic has caused.

We don’t yet know how the coronavirus may affect the upcoming 2020/2021 kindergarten class, but we know there’s power behind positive thinking, hope, and adaptable planning. With that in mind, we encourage parents to continue planning for their child’s upcoming kindergarten class as they normally would.

Here are 6 awesome tips for parents on how they can help their preschoolers (and themselves!) prepare for a fantastic start to their kindergarten year.

1. Test your child’s kindergarten readiness skills to see what areas you can help them improve on before class begins.

There are some basic skills your child will need before entering kindergarten. These include holding a pencil properly, writing their name or short words, counting to ten, speaking clearly and in full sentences, recognizing common short words, using the bathroom on their own, and focusing on a task for at least 10 minutes without distraction.

Your child’s emotional skills are also important. These include their ability to take turns with others and share, follow instructions, ask questions when they need help, show empathy to others, listen quietly, and pay attention for short bursts of time.

This article by Scholastic is a fantastic resource for parents who want an in-depth list of cognitive and emotional skills their kindergartner needs before they begin and what their child will learn during the year.

2. Encourage your child to practice independence and responsibility by teaching them self-help skills.

Moving from preschool to kindergarten is a big step forward, especially in terms of your child being able to help themselves a bit more than they did in preschool.

Look for ways you can help your child gain a little more independence. Teach them to hang up their coat, tidy up their learning or play zones, put on their shoes, and wash their hands. You can also start encouraging your child to learn to blow their nose without help, throw away their trash without being asked, and wipe their face when it’s dirty.

3. Spark conversations with your child about what kindergarten will be like and motivate them to ask questions.

A sit-down talk is a great way to explain the basics of kindergarten, such as the name of their school, their teacher’s name, what their daily routine might look like, and what types of things their class might do. If the kindergarten has a website with pictures of the staff, facilities, and past classes, share these with your child.

Kids are naturally curious and tend to ask a lot of questions. Motivate your child to ask as many questions as they want about kindergarten, especially if they’re feeling a little afraid of this new change in their lives. You can even tell them about your own experiences going to school to help validate that what they’re feeling is completely normal.

4. Start establishing routines at home right away for going to bed, waking up, meal times, and structured learning periods.

Children thrive on routine, but getting them used to new changes can be met with some resistance. Taking a gradual approach to new routines is the most effective route, so getting your child used to their future kindergarten routine now really helps them transition seamlessly once school begins.

Think ahead about when your child will need to wake up to get ready for school and what time they will need to go to sleep to get the recommended nine to 12 hours of sleep each night.

As for dedicated meal times and learning times, ask their future kindergarten teacher for a timetable template of how their day will go. If that’s not possible, simply reinforcing a structured timetable is beneficial.

5. Book your child’s annual wellness exam with their pediatrician, including updated vaccinations if needed.

Ensuring your child is healthy and ready for kindergarten starts with their annual wellness exam. Their pediatrician will look for any potential health issues and test their hearing, eye health, and standard health metrics (i.e., heart rate, blood pressure, breathing). Your child’s pediatrician will also ask important questions about their behavior and how their skills are developing, such as speech and fine motor skills. Lastly, your child may also receive a few vaccinations.

Check out this helpful guide on what to expect during your child’s visit. For more information on Texas state guidelines for vaccinations, look at this Texas DSHS webpage.

6. Schedule a dental exam and cleaning to ensure your kid’s smile is healthy and shining bright for their first day of kindergarten.

Unless your child experienced a dental emergency, chances are they haven’t seen their dentist since the coronavirus caused dentists to limit business to only urgent care. Thankfully, Plano, Texas, dentists are beginning to welcome back their patients for routine care, including Dr. Jeff!

Get your child’s oral health back on track by booking a routine exam and professional cleaning. This gives Dr. Jeff a chance to see how your child’s teeth are doing and pinpoint any potential trouble spots that need care before kindergarten begins.

Dr. Jeff and the team are excited to see your children once again and get back on track with their dental care plan.

As of May 11, Dr. Jeff and the dental team are thrilled to welcome back their young patients for routine dental care.

During our brief closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we prepared our office and trained our staff on new strict safety protocols as we patiently waited to reopen. You’ll notice a few changes when you and your child arrive for their next appointment (explained in our Facebook post here). These changes will be in place until the American Dental Association and CDC deem it safe to return to normal.

If you have any questions or are ready to book your child’s appointment, give our office a call to set up a time.