5 Smart Ways to Prepare Your Toddler for School
Today we went to Little Mr’s kindergarten orientation (warning: I am about to say some very cliché phrases). Crazy, I know. Seriously, where did the time go? He is all grown up now. I can’t even.
Now that, that is out of the way. I will let you in on a little secret: I was anxious about him starting school. Not the normal kind of “oh he’s starting school and that’s new and scary but he will be fine” more like the unhealthy neurotic problematic anxiety; so basically, nothing new for me. I will say that after the orientation I am feeling good about it. He did so well and I am so proud of how well he behaved today. He is excited to start school and that is making me excited for him. I, of course, still worry and probably always will. He is my first baby after all and I will likely helicopter him to death but I am also excited about the future, about his future and the opportunities that are about to open his mind and world. He is in his element in situations like these and that is one of the many things about being a parent that makes my soul happy.
Little Mr spent the evening telling me to go away if I came anywhere near him. Seriously, he was telling me to back off. I had to restrain myself and just let him do his thing. At one point, he called me over to him while they were sitting in a circle having a snack just to tell me “You don’t want to sit with me Mommy, go back”. I was both heart broken and so proud I could have burst. I had been getting a little worried about him starting school because he had been saying that he did not want us to leave him there. He has been jealous since the Little Dude was born and telling us he wants us to go to school with him. That orientation reassured me that he is ready and willing. I could have tried to keep him back a year since his birthday is only a few days before the cut off. I know that won’t benefit him so, I have pushed it aside for his well being. That’s what Mamas do.
The school happened to give us a whole bag full of information and fun things to do. It included a few books to read together, information packages, a ball, some paper and other craft stuff, play doh plus the recipe to make it at home, a hat for sun protection, magnet letters, etc. Apparently, they expect us to be working on this stuff with our kids before the school year starts; how dare they! I was quite impressed with the amount of stuff and thought put in to the welcome package we got. I think it will make a great introduction to a lot of the skills he is about to hone in school.
You know, I was quite unsure about how much he would need to be able to do before he started school. I was worried he would be behind not doing well with his letters, colours, numbers, etc. He proved me wrong and did well during the activities. The teachers kept telling all of us that they did not need to know much because they would be teaching them all of it. They did tell us to make them as independent as possible before they start up in the fall. I think that is great advice for anyone coming in on a kiddo about to start school. That and, label everything your child owns so it a) doesn’t get lost and b) they learn to recognize their name.
As the time for school draws near I find myself thinking about it often. We have been working with the stuff they gave us, doing the activities to prepare him and coming up with our own. We have been having a blast. Little Mr is loving it and he is learning. What better way to spend some time every day?
If you have a kiddo that is about to start school play along with us! Here are 5 activities we do to prepare that you can do as well:
1. Craft Time- Little Mr has sure been enjoying this one. He asks to do crafts everyday since we started. This is a cheap way to learn and have fun. You can purchase all the items required from the dollar store. All you need is some construction paper, safety scissors (scissors that are kid friendly; not sharp), a glue stick, and some stuff to draw or decorate with (ex. Crayons, stickers, etc), and some imagination. I usually follow his lead, he comes up with something to create and we do it together.
2. Play Doh Fun- Making the play doh is a lot of fun, something you can get your kiddos helping with. They love to help, it gets them in the kitchen, it is fun, they get to make something, and you can make it a learning opportunity using food colouring to go over your colours. A quick Google search will yield plenty of play doh recipies, I did one and found an Instructable post from the user Canida here that guides you through the process.
3. Use the Play Doh- Once it is made, go crazy! Seriously, my Little Mr adores Play Doh. He can spend hours playing with it and trust me, he usually can’t spend hours doing anything. Make it a learning activity; have them shape letters, make shapes, build snowmen, talk about the different colours. This also helps their fine motor skills.
4.Pack Meals- Use your kiddos lunch box and containers now! Have fun making meals and packing them up. It will help your child get use to opening and closes containers, it is a fun meal idea, and it starts setting the school routine before school starts. You can even have your little help you pack their lunch
5. Draw, Colour, and Write- Taking some time everyday to work on the skill it takes to hold a writing utensil and to use them to do things purposely is not only a practical way to spend some time but also fun and as a bonus relaxing. You can take the opportunity to mix this up and do something different with it every time. Practice name writing and recognition, use it to learn the alphabet or numbers, colour a picture, colour recognition, write out the names of colours, encourage imagination by drawing your own pictures, etc. The options here are endless and colouring has become a popular stress reliever.
How are you or how have you prepared your kiddos for school? Let me know in the comment section below!