Preparing Your Toddler for School
Sept. 28, 2021
I have seen children crying and screaming for help when they first enter school, and the hard part is the sudden change of environment for the children. Prepping your child for school is not just fixing their hair, preparing lunch, and giving them a pep talk before entering, this is more of making your home a learning place for your child in preparation for the actual school.
Do not panic! We are here to guide you on how to prepare your toddler for school with these tips:
1. Following Directions
As a teacher, I see children struggling to follow directions because they were not used to following instructions at home. Your child should be able to follow simple directions, this will be beneficial when they start going to school. You can do this even while playing, ask them to classify the toys by color or by size, or even by playing “Simon Says.”
2. Teach Your Child the Basics of Learning
In class, the lessons that are usually being taught to toddlers are writing, reading, and math. These are the basics and core of learning. We will further talk about this on this article.
3. Introduce School
Talk about school to your child, tell them fun facts and stories about school. Do not scare them, I experienced this a lot in school, parents using teachers to scare their children into listening to them. This does not only make teachers a villain to your child, it may also cause them to fear going to school. You may introduce school by watching “Let’s Go to School” with your child and having conversations about it afterward.
4. Practice Socialization
Your child will be meeting new people, it is better to practice having conversations. Show different school scenarios and ask your child what he or she would do in that situation, this will help your child know what to expect in school and be prepared on what to do.
Teach Your Child the Basics of Learning
I mentioned this above, but it is important to further explain this and give helpful tips on this. This is probably one of the hardest things to prepare your child for. Many children will come to school without knowing the letters or even counting, so it is best to tutor your child at home before making them go to school, because if a child does not know what to do, he or she may feel left out of class, and this may also lower their self-esteem. In this article, I will be focusing on Math, a subject where most parents and teachers struggle the most. Math is one complicated subject, and children may find it confusing and tiring. I have students wherein they get tired of doing too much Math, counting, and adding are not as fun as just reading and writing.
Teaching Math at Home
Math does not just stop by learning and identifying numbers, and it might be confusing for your child to count because they must memorize how the number looks like and the word for it. Some common problems are:
- Number recognition - some children can count 1-10 while looking at the numbers through memorization, but some are not able to identify numbers when it is arranged differently. To introduce numbers, you may show different numbers and tell them what number it is, then asks them to repeat the word. With this, you can also do activities that introduce number and counting, a good activity I found is “Roller Coaster Fun Worksheet” This helps with number recognition, and it prompts your child into identifying which number comes before and after. More worksheets are found on the Kids Academy website, these worksheets focus on writing numbers, and matching numbers using pictures in which I know little children find enjoyable to do.
- Counting – teaching children to count can be quite confusing for them, it is best to not overwhelm your child by making them count bigger numbers and remember to match counting to the physical number to practice recognition. Ask your child things like “How many blueberries do you want?” and count together. Fun and colorful worksheets that help engage your child in learning are found on the Kids Academy website. A good activity to do with your child is “Ladybug Line Up” “Firefighter Counting” and “Number Match Up” This does not just help with counting, but also with arranging numbers in proper order. You may also have fun with counting games, I usually play Math games with my students to give them the sense that Math can also be fun too!
- Comparing – after learning counting, it is time to step the game up and introduce which is more and which is less, this is when your child learns that one number is higher than the other number, use playtime as Math time too!
- Adding – when teaching addition, use manipulatives found in your house, may it be toys, blocks, etc. You can do easy addition like just adding one for them to better understand. If your child can count and understand the concept of adding, you may transition to visual worksheets about addition, start with small numbers like “Add Up Pennies Worksheet” and “Cookie Addition” These worksheets have visual manipulatives that are used for your child to better understand how counting and addition are related. If you want to help your child add bigger numbers, a trick we teach our students is to put the bigger number on their head and smaller number on their fingers, for example, we will ask what is 10 + 4, to help them answer they will have to think of the number ten then show four fingers on their hand and count starting from ten then continue with their fingers until they get to 14.
When preparing your toddler for school, do not put pressure on them, learning takes time, and they have a lot of it at school. Also, be sure to ask your child questions about how he or she feels about going to school, and what his or her thoughts are about it. Introduce school as a fun and exciting place to be and take it easy.