- Read Often: Frequently expose your child to books. Make it part of your daily routine, whether that be in the morning of before bedtime. Read to them, but also allow them the opportunity to read to you (even if it is made up speech!). When children are exposed to reading, it allows them to “find their voice” and build their confidence when speaking to others. You can take turns picking out the story to read, but be intentional. As well as benefiting their reading readiness, it helps to build rapport with your child.
- Be Musical: Whether you listen to an educational music CD or a fun Disney sing-along, surround your child with music! Music can help children build a strong vocabulary and strengthen their social skills. Music also helps students increase empathy towards others, focus on classroom tasks, relieve stress or anxiety, and develop areas of the brain related to language and development.
- Encourage Responsibility: Have clear, loving, consistent, and high-standards for your child. Children are able to rise to the occasion! Teach your child to be independent and responsible. Ideas to help: have them keep their bedrooms clean, clean up messes they make in the toy-room or game room at home, and prepare a snack for themselves (with parent supervision). If you encourage these ideas in your home, it’ll translate to them being responsible for keeping their classroom clean, cleaning up after themselves after snack/lunchtime, unpacking their backpacks in the mornings and packing them up in the afternoon. Use words of loving encouragement when they complete the tasks, but don’t do it for them. Be clear and consistent and encourage them to be responsible, they can do it!
- Spend Time Together: I would encourage you to take time and listen to your kindergartener. You can gain so much knowledge! Your son or daughter will be thinking, ‘I love it when you talk to me about my work. I love it when you read to me. When you show a genuine interest in their life, you cannot imagine the love they feel and the confidence they develop. I urge you to put down social media and turn off the TV and move to the floor to play with them, discover with them and learn from them. Give them ‘us time’ every day. Make them feel like they are the most important thing in your life.
- Celebrate Childhood: Let your kindergartner laugh, play and even make messes: bake, make homemade Play-Doh, plant a garden, blow bubbles and make forts with blankets or boxes. Listen closely when they share the most amazing thing they learned at school each day. Do not lose sight of what kindergarten is meant to be: a time when children can be children and a place where their hearts can be nurtured, friendships formed, social skills strengthened and laughter is encouraged.