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Getting your Preschooler Ready for the Real World of Kindergarten

Cindy GoldenThis is a guest post by Cindy Golden from www.omacconsulting.blogspot.com. Cindy is a Special Education Supervisor with the Cherokee County, Georgia School District. She has been in special education for the last 26 years. Cindy is the author of a popular blog: www.omacconsulting.blogspot.com which focuses on the education and parenting of students with autism. Cindy also has a book on autism that should be published soon.

Remember when your baby was born? You looked in that tiny face and promised to love, protect and provide for him or her forever.

You knew that as your little everything grew, he or she would try to push away, struggling to become independent while continually glancing back to make sure you were there should challenges prove too scary. For instance, remember that first day of preschool as your child stared through fear-filled eyes at the tears welling in your own? Preschool. It was a big mountain in a little life.

And now?

Another mountain called kindergarten, full of new challenges and demands.

How will your child handle this steep mountain? Can your pride and joy climb it without getting too battered and bruised? And how can you best help?

The transition from preschool to kindergarten is not an easy time for parents. Loosening protective reins is hard. It's difficult watching your little ones become more independent, getting ready to join the big kids in kindergarten.

This period is also a challenging time for children; however, you can make it easier for your child. The following suggestions are sure to help.

The one word you need to keep in the forefront of your mind is "preparation".

Preparation: Prepare your child by making sure he or she possesses important skills that will help in kindergarten. These are not prerequisite skills, but they will help your child become more independent, thus making the kindergarten transition easier.

You should begin by teaching your child to:
o put on and take off a jacket or coat
o care for their toileting needs
o wipe their noses and mouths
o ask for help
o zip and unzip their bookbags
o put on, take off and fasten their shoes
o brush their hair and wash their hands
o rise early in order to get dressed for school
o stay awake all day without needing a long nap
o open food containers
o wait patiently (an important skill when functioning in a large group)
o take turns
o listen to and follow multiple step directives

Trained in helping children transition to the world of school, the kindergarten teacher is an expert who will assist your child in doing many of these tasks; however, the more you prepare your little one prior to entering kindergarten, the easier time your child will have during this first year.

You can be your child's hero. Just help him or her learn how to accomplish the above tasks, and both you and your child will be better ready to make that first step into the Real World of Kindergarten.

Lots more about Kindergarten in our archive of Kindergarten articles. You might also enjoy this article, Get Ready for Kindergarten
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