Getting your child ready for kindergarten

Q:  What can I do to help my child get ready for kindergarten?

A: Transitioning to school can be a big deal for many 5-year-olds — most of the time in a very positive way. Reinforcing the notion of this being such a “big boy” thing to do — and how great it is that he’ll be starting kindergarten this fall — will ease the transition. 

Take a little extra time to read a variety of new books in this last month before school starts. Reading time before school is one of the best ways to help children acquire reading skills after they start. An adventure to a local library is a good strategy if that isn’t already a part of your family’s routine. 

Art projects — freehand drawing, coloring and painting — are a good way to enhance a child’s fine motor skills, including learning to print and write. Some children, especially boys, seem not as gifted or interested in fine-motor-skill development, so it may be a bit of a challenge to get your son to participate. 

Get to your know son’s school. Attend as many school-sponsored orientations and/or parent events as possible. And be sure to plan a trip — or two or three — to the school playground during summer (if it’s open to the public) to get him excited about the playtime school provides in addition to learning. You may find your child makes friends in his class before school even starts.  

Some children find the transition to kindergarten stressful. In fact, it can be the source of considerable anxiety. Reassurance is a good first step if this is their reaction. In some cases, working with a psychologist or behavioral health specialist may be needed. Talk with your pediatrician if this is your experience.