As a parent, you most likely understand the importance of maintaining your child's physical and emotional health and wellness. From potty-training and eating a well-balanced diet to learning how to play well with others, teaching your child can be overwhelming at times. Unfortunately, you may not be preparing your child properly for the start of school. Since most states require children to start kindergarten or an approved educational program by the age of 5, you should begin preparing your child early in their life. Using this guide, your child will be physically and emotionally prepared to start kindergarten.
Every child develops at a different rate, but your child should reach certain physical milestones before starting kindergarten.
Make sure your child is toilet trained before they start school. This will ensure they are capable of using the bathroom when necessary, reducing the risk of accidents. Bathroom accidents may still occur, but your child should be able to use the bathroom, wipe themselves, and wash their hands independently.
Your child should also have the following gross/fine motor skills before starting kindergarten:
- Stand and balance on one foot
- Walk on their tip toes
- Have sufficient coordination to walk up stairs, dance, and dribble a basketball
- Hold a pencil using two fingers and their thumb
- Use scissors to cut out basic shapes
- Use a fork, spoon, and knife
- Use one hand more than the other
Cognitive and Language Milestones
Your child will learn many things in kindergarten, but they should have reached a few educational milestones beginning school.
Before kindergarten, your child should be able to identify basic colors and shapes. In addition, children should know the letters and sounds of the alphabet, which will be necessary while learning to read.
Children starting school should also be able to recite their name, address, and telephone number. Understanding and communicating this personal information is important for improving their language skills, but it is also beneficial if your child gets lost or is missing.
Here are a few other cognitive and language milestones your child should reach before the start of school:
- Count objects up to 20
- Follow multi-step instructions
- Focus on an activity
- Compare opposites and similarities
- Communicate stories and jokes
- Use pronouns, plurals, and tenses properly
If your child did not attend preschool, you may worry that they lack social skills. Fortunately, your child has most likely learned to socialize by playing with neighborhood children or other kids at the park and playground. Of course, your child should know specific socialization skills before starting kindergarten.
Most children starting school should be able to make friends by playing together without challenges or arguments. Kindergarten-aged children must be able to share and communicate their thoughts and feelings easily with their classmates. Your child should also be able to answer questions when classmates, teachers, and other adults ask.
Many parents choose not to vaccinate their child for different reasons, but foregoing these important vaccinations can increase your child's risk of developing dangerous, life-threatening diseases. Proper vaccinations in your child's early years of life can protect them from 14 diseases.
In most cases, pediatricians recommend 5 DTaP shots by the time your child is 4 to 6 years of age. This vaccine protects your child from a variety of diseases including tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough. Four shots should also be administered to protect against polio, one shot for chicken pox, and two MMR vaccinations, which protect your child from developing measles, mumps, and rubella.
Since each state has its own set of requirements, your child may also require hepatitis vaccinations or flu shots. Be sure to contact your specific school district and your child's pediatrician to determine which vaccinations are recommended and required before starting kindergarten.
Starting kindergarten is a huge milestone for you and your child, so you should prepare your child properly. Using this guide and the help of a doctor from a clinic like Entira Family Clinics, your child will be physically and emotionally ready to start kindergarten.