Preschool graduation looks different than expected. Preschoolers don’t get to hug their teachers or friends goodbye. Safety protocols have changed the way once-normal gatherings are handled. No, this year ended in a way we never could have predicted.
And the fact is, at the time of this writing (May), we still don’t know what to expect when your child begins kindergarten in the fall.
So how should you prepare your child for kindergarten in the time of Covid-19? Read on for some helpful tips.
Our social world is drastically different than a few months ago. Where once, children may have gotten much of their social development from frequent play dates, now we need to reconsider how our children will develop social skills.
At this age, your child is working on sharing, taking turns, showing concern for others, playing cooperatively, and managing emotions.
How can you do this when you might need to limit play dates and group settings?
- Take your child into the world as much as possible. Take walks in nature and discuss how you need to move to the right of the trail when another person approaches (sharing the trail). Talk about being respectful with your voices so as not to disturb other people or neighborhoods (playing cooperatively).
- If you can go to public places, discuss current social distancing guidelines and how to follow them (playing cooperatively and showing concern for others).
- Set up video calls, and encourage your child to take turns in the conversation. Teach them how to ask questions and wait for answers.
- Give your child time, space, and materials to play pretend so they can role-play different scenarios.
- Read books, and ponder out loud about how the characters feel.
- If you can have play dates, follow current social distancing guidelines and discuss that you are taking these measures to protect others (showing concern for others and playing cooperatively).
- If your child has siblings, help them share, play together, and take turns.
- Look for ways you can help others following current social distancing guidelines (showing concern for others).
Motor skill development is still important during a pandemic! And thankfully, you don’t have to think too far out of the box to develop motor skills during Covid-19.
Gross Motor Activities
- Get outside and run! Climb! Hop, skip, and jump!
- Go for walks and hikes on uneven surfaces
- Ride bikes, balance bikes, and scooters
- Turn on the sprinklers
- Splash in a kiddie pool
- Jump on a trampoline
- Play hopscotch
- Set up an obstacle course in the backyard
Fine Motor Activities
- Eat finger foods
- Stack blocks
- Play with play dough
- Cook together (let your child measure and stir)
- Give the toy cars a car wash (include a sponge for squeezing)
- Cut the lawn with child scissors
- Play around on the piano
- Work on puzzles
This time of social distancing and more time at home is actually the perfect time to work on self-help skills.
This is a time when you can assign age-appropriate chores. Let your child do them on their own as time goes on. As they master skills, continue to add more.
Encourage your child to do what they can do on their own. For example, they can probably get dressed mostly or completely on their own. Let them!
If they’re stuck with something, encourage them to ask questions and ask for help when needed. Don’t jump in with answers before they’ve had the chance to problem solve on their own.
If your child can’t use the restroom on their own, this is the time to coach them on how to do so. Be sure to teach them to wash their hands for 20 seconds.
Make sure your child can eat independently. Pack a lunchbox for them, and see if any part of opening the items is tricky. Then work on those items until your child can do it.
Academic development is what most parents think about when they consider kindergarten readiness. Can my child read? What about adding and subtracting? Can they write their name?
These worries tend to push parents to push children too hard. Please don’t stress about whether your child can read yet. These are important skills, but they are not the most crucial concern at this stage of your child’s life.
Instead, focus on pre-reading skills. The Utah State Board of Education recommends you work on helping your child with these academic skills:
- Listening attentively and responding to stories and books
- Speaking in complete sentences
- Identifying signs, symbols, or logos in the environment
- Speaking clearly enough to be understood by others
- Identifying rhyming words in stories, poems, and songs
- Knowing that letters of the alphabet have specific sounds
- Identifying the first sound heard in random words
- Identifying some uppercase and lowercase letters, including those in their name
- Using beginning writing skills (e.g. drawing, scribbling, writing) to express ideas
As you can see, none of these academic skills will require hours of flashcards. Most of these skills can be developed as you talk with your child, observe your surroundings with your child, and read, read, read with your child!
- When you have conversations with your child, take turns asking questions
- Ask your child to describe what they see, hear, smell, taste, or feel
- Point out logos on products
- Read a variety of books
- Pause when you read, and ask your child what they think will happen next
- Point out uppercase letters at the beginning of sentences in books
- Do an activity together like cooking, and talk about the first sounds of words. “Let’s add the sugar. Ssss is the first sound in sugar.”
- Let your child draw often, and use a variety of materials
- Have your child practice writing their first name — use shaving cream, chalk, paint, dry erase on a mirror, and more to make it more fun
- Work on puzzles
The times are uncertain, but your love for your child hasn’t wavered. Take these skills one day at a time, don’t push your child, and remember that we’ll all make it through.
To learn more about UDA Creative Arts Preschool in Draper, Utah, contact us online or give us a call at (801) 523-5930.