It is bittersweet to be preparing my oldest son for Kindergarten. I have been fearing this day for a long time, but I am also proud that he will be starting this new journey in life. In this post I want to share with you the importance of teaching your child independence for Kindergarten and some of the skills that we focused on to get him ready.
I feel like this last year we have been under a lot of pressure making sure our son was academically prepared to go to Kindergarten, but I wanted to make sure that we also put an emphasis on teaching him the skills to be independent to help build his confidence. When my husband and I sat down for a conference with his Preschool teacher she listed some of the important readiness skills that he would need for Kindergarten like writing his first and last name, knowing his ABC’s, learning his address and phone number and identifying numbers 1-20.
I know as a Kindergartener there are higher expectations when it comes to the independent skills a child needs to take care of themselves when at school. So, to get him ready for Kindergarten we focused on everyday skills that he would be required to do. As a busy Mom, I found simple ways to incorporate teaching my son everyday tasks that would help him learn how to be independent in the classroom.
Examples For Teaching Your Child Independence For Kindergarten
Opening all food items. This may seem like a simple task, but think about each meal you share with your child. Do you help them open everything? You want to make sure your son or daughter is able to unzip, tear open, unwrap, etc. Not only will this help the teacher but it will give your child confidence knowing they can handle their meals without any assistance. The allotted time can be limited so you do not want your child to struggle or miss out on eating all together.
I suggest taking the time to practice at home. Teach them how to open each item that you will be sending along with them to school. This may take longer than you think, but it was definitely worth it because my son gets a sense of pride when he knows he can “do it all himself.”
Dress and Undress. Most kids this age know how to dress and undress themselves but when it comes to zippers and buttons it is much more difficult. Help teach your child to dress and undress themselves to help boost their confidence. It is a hard task to learn, but is necessary when it comes to teaching your child independence for Kindergarten.
Take the time to do a few practice runs at home. Have them completely dress and undress like they would if they were in the classroom.
Tie Shoes. When I thought about teaching my son to tie his shoe I got stressed out about it let alone thinking how he would feel about it. It seems like such a difficult task, but it really is not that hard. Once we started practicing with him I was seriously shocked with how easy he learned how to tie his own shoe. After a few days of teaching him what to do he started coming up and asking me if he could practice tying my shoes! I am sure you understand the importance of learning this skill. I would hate for my son to have to constantly ask his teacher to tie his shoe for him.
Accountability & Responsibility. Teaching your child independence for Kindergarten does include a variety of tasks. Helping your child to learn how to be accountable for their belongings and understand the requirements of a classroom can help them be more confident at school. There are certain requirements of a Kindergarten classroom that your child will be required to do. Such as, turn in their work or important papers, putting away their own belongings, and keeping track of their supplies. I feel like this is a hard one for children of this age to learn. My son is constantly setting his stuff down around our house and then losing it. I want him to be aware of his items and make sure they are kept where they need to be. Not only will this help the teacher but it will help your child to be more successful and comfortable in the classroom.
Bathroom Breaks. I am definitely guilty of helping my son pull his pants down and up when he uses the restroom or getting the towel for him to speed up the process. Using the bathroom is an independent skill that every child needs to learn before Kindergarten. I want my son to be comfortable when he has to go to the bathroom at school without having to ask for assistance.
You can work on this skill at home by taking the time to allow your child to do the entire process themselves.
Now, do not stress over all of these if your child has not yet mastered each one. No one expects your child to walk in on the first day and do these tasks perfectly. But, if you set the foundation at home you can make this transition much easier.
There are plenty of other skills that you can work on to help teach your child independence like picking out their clothes, cleaning up after themselves, brushing their own teeth and completing chores. Teaching your child independence for Kindergarten will boost their confidence and give them more time to focus on the classroom without having to worry about small everyday tasks.