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Preparing Your Kindergartener's Social Development For School

Updated on July 13, 2016
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Is your child emotionally ready to start school?

Children develop at different speeds largely dependent on their environment and how much time is spent helping them nurture and mature their social development. To be successful in school children need to have developed certain social skills. Without these skills a child is generally not mature enough or emotionally prepared for the changes and tasks that are expected of them in school. Having good social skills is as important as trying to teach your child skills like writing their name or the alphabet because without them they will not be able to form good relationships with their peers or their teacher.

One of the biggest concerns of parents on their child's first day of kindergarten is whether they will like school and want to go without being forced. Most parents are experiencing their own emotions over the fact the baby they had is already old enough to leave the safety of their reach and start to adventure out into the world without them. Nostalgia can cause parents to be a little apprehensive theirselves. While these feelings are normal and to be expected it is best to not let the child sense them or it will intensify any fears and anxieties they are experiencing themselves.

It is a parent's job to encourage and support a child as they begin to gain some independence and venture out into the world. Along with the encouragement, parents can help prepare the child socially be ready to ensure their success at school.


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Helping Children Develop Social Skills

There are a number of things parents need to make sure their child can do before they start school. In order to function and learn at school a child has to first be able to separate from the parents without undo fear. Children will feel much less afraid if the parent has taken the time to properly prepare them for being at school alone without them. If they have been left at other places or with other people and already have seen that the parent always comes back to get them it will help reenforce that there fears are unfounded. A child needs to be able to spend extended periods of time away from the parents since school is several hours long each day.

Children need to be encouraged to explore and try new things. Parents can help this by fostering a desire in their child to look for new and interesting things to see and learn about. Take them to new places. Museums and art galleries are excellent choices.There are so many things to catch a child's eye there. Let them ask questions, even if it seems they have asked a thousand. Be honest and if they ask you a question you cannot answer tell them. Maybe you can explore the answer together.

Some children are just natural born talkers and practically open their mouths and start talking right out of the womb. Still others may need a little help to persuade them to talk. Find things that fascinate and motivate your child to explore and adventure. Do not talk to your child as if they were a baby. If you want your child to use full sentences and talk like other people then they need to hear you using words and sentences to emulate. Remember if you use bad language or poor English, so will your child. Children look up to their parents and usually want to be just like them. If you use good manners, they will quickly learn to use them also.

Does you child recognize authority and mind? Does he/she listen actively when spoken too? It is very important for your child to be able to follow directions and listen when the teachers explains things. You can start teaching your child these skills at home by facilitating a few basic things. If you tell your child something, do it. If you tell them if they do not eat their lunch they will not get dessert follow through. If you tell them one thing and do another you are teaching them to distrust adults and that they can get away with stuff. Be consistent. If today it was not okay to throw the ball in the house then tomorrow it should not be okay either. Make sure other caregivers of the child are all on the same page, If the child learns that he/she can get away with certain stuff going to another person, he/she will do so.


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Does your child share with others?

Does your child share? Sharing things is very important at school. Start teaching your child early that they need to share, especially if they want others to share with them. Does your child play well with others. It is hard to control twenty, five year olds as it is, without having to stop breaking up spats every little bit. Time spent in time out is wasted time that your child can be learning and exploring new things.

Is your child able to control himself? Does he/she get angry at others easily? Will he/she wait his/her turn? All these are important to have mastered by the time a child starts school. If possible, teach him/her to take turns at home. If he/she is an only child, then make him/her take turns with you or take him/her to a park or other place where he/she can play with other children. Play games that require only one person at a time to do a task. This will teach him/her to be patient and wait his turn.

Does your child listen to you read a book without interrupting you? If not, try working on this. Sit and do an activity for at least fifteen minutes. Are they able to stay focused that long without losing interest? You can play games or finger paint for fifteen minute time slots. Candyland or Chutes and Ladder's are good games to play with your child that has trouble taking turns. They will eventually learn that they have to wait their turn and they are age appropriate. If at first he/she is unable to sit still that long start with a shorter time period and work each day until he/she can.

All these things are important for your child to be able to do by the time they start school. It may seem like a lot at first, but a good deal of it they will learn if they just have good models to imitate and learn from.


Sharing

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Can your child take care of his own needs?

Has he/she learned to dress himself/herself? Can he/she put on his own coat when going outside to play? Does he/she know his right from left? Does he/she take care of his/her own toiletries? A child must be potty trained and able to wipe themselves and wash their hands before going to school. Today's teachers are given too many duties to expect them to handle twenty children effectively if they are helping each child with these things.

Can he/she feed himself/herself properly and drink from a "big kid cup" without making a mess? These are more skills that a child must have before going to school. A child that is behind in these things will have a much harder time keeping up with the pace of the other things he/she must learn.

Potty Training

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In conclusion....

In conclusion, there are many other useful things to help prepare your child for his/her first day at school. Having good social behaviors will give your child a great foundation to build upon. If he/she can sit and listen attentively to his/her teacher half the battle will already be won. They will be able to teach him/her the basics that will help him/her throughout his/her school career. Remember to relax because most of these skills will be learned as he/she watches by example. If you see an area that needs improvement then look for ways to help your child improve in that area, Most of all enjoy these years they past all to quickly and they will be having the same worries as you right now while raising their own children. Make memories that will last a lifetime and enjoy them.

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    • Felisa Daskeo profile image

      Felisa Daskeo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Great tips. Yes, kids need to be prepared first before sending them off to school because they can be overwhelmed with their new environment. The first days in school of the kids is the hardest part of their school life and they must enjoy this part.

    • Rebecca Reagan profile image
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      Rebecca Reagan 3 years ago from Texas

      Thank you, Felisa! I appreciate your comment. I think school is very important and as you said, should be enjoyable to the child. I am in the process now of trying to make sure my four year old son is ready for kindergarten next year! He is very active and we are working hard on expanding his attention span and listening skills. I am homeschooling him this year also to make sure he is ready to learn all the awesome things he will get to learn in kindergarten next year!

      Thanks!

      Rebecca

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