Prepare child socially and emotionally for kindergarten

Rebecca White  |  7/9/2009 1:05:23 AM

Back-to-School News Distributed 07/08/09

Children fare better in school when their parents help them become ready for kindergarten. After all, parents are the most important teachers a child will ever have, says LSU AgCenter family development professor Dr. Rebecca White.

Parents can help their children become socially and emotionally ready for kindergarten by supporting and nurturing the youngsters at home in their social, emotional, intellectual and physical development.

White says to focus on social and emotional development by answering these questions:

– Does my child play well with other children?

– Can my child be away from me without becoming upset?

– Does my child share with other children?

– Can my child follow routines?

– Does my child care about the feeling of others?

– Can my child follow directions?

– Does my child put away toys when asked?

As the countdown to kindergarten begins, White offers these ideas to help your child be ready:

– Give your child several small chores to learn responsibility. For example, picking up the toys every evening before bath time or feeding the family pet are chores a child can do. Start out with gentle supervision, and soon the child will be able to accomplish the chores independently.

– To help your child learn to follow directions, be sure to give simple steps. Break down a task into several steps.

– Continuously encourage your child to share. This applies to toys, snacks and games.

– Be generous with praise. The youngster will be encouraged to try to achieve more with lots of praise.

– Provide guidance during social and emotional difficulties. Remember, children are growing and developing rapidly and have a lot to learn from you about getting along with others.

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Editor: Mark Claesgens

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