Reading, Writing, Coloring: preparing your child for school in a light-hearted way

The first day of school is a huge day for both parent and kid and will come with some inevitable challenges. But do not fret because we are here to help:) To ease some of those challenges, it is a good idea to prepare the whole family for the big day. Simple preparations will make it less bewildering for them and less stressful for parents. By mixing the traditional aspects of learning with some light-hearted fun will go a long way inside their little brains.

A girl doing homework

Making reading fun

Reading to kids during their baby months is a great way of introducing them to the art of storytelling. Listening to sounds, words and tones will crucially encourage a child’s awareness of the immediate environment surrounding them.

When they are of pre-school age, reading with your child is one of the best ways to help them get ready for school and gives them a tiny insight of what to expect during their first year of education. If they are provided with simple knowledge beforehand, this will give them a platform of confidence during those crucial first weeks and months of the daunting prospect of classrooms.
So how can we prepare our kids for school when it comes to reading?

Well spending just 10 minutes reading together helps tremendously, it will:

  • Develop social and emotional skills
  • Strengthen their bond with you
  • Help them grow into a confident, happy learner

When reading we can adopt some very simple, and interactive methods in making it fun for them so when they begin reading at school they are already in a positive frame of mind. Make animal noises or sound effects – this boosts concentration and will invariably make you both laugh out loud. Cuddle up together or get siblings to join you for some reading time. Ask questions, such as, ‘what can you see on the page’?

It is also a great idea to allow your child to take the lead by letting them be the storyteller. They can ‘read’ the pictures to you and talk about what they see on the page. It allows them to interpret information in addition to using their own imagination. It is always useful to steer clear from any noise – televisions, i-pads and cell phones. Make reading time relaxing and enjoyable.

Grandmother with her grandson

Reading, writing, coloring

Before kids are able to convert their knowledge and understanding of the world around them using the written word, they must first learn how to master dexterity. To be able to communicate effectively using the written word will open up countless more avenues of imagination and creativity.

To introduce dexterity, lay out a table with different stationary objects. Use crayons, pens, pencils, and scissors. Kids generally learn best through play. Learning how to write should be no different. So encourage them to have ‘free’ play to examine how they naturally hold the objects. Observe the concentration, and the facial expressions to decipher whether they are enjoying the activity. Without intruding too much, slowly introduce simple advice (verbal and visual), to alter the technique of their grip to make it more comfortable and manageable. You have to be aware of the fact that kids are very observant and will pick up a lot of information by simply watching you. Allow them to watch you write your own name a couple of times. As you put pencil to paper, slowly verbalize the letter and finish with the word you have written. Encourage them to repeat what they have just seen.

When it comes to the alphabet, combine visual aids with coloring. Provide them with a coloring alphabet page where they can attempt to color inside the letters–with you doing the same beside them. This may instill some visual clues and reminders to their brain connections when they begin learning the alphabet at school.

Incorporate a fun game by cutting out individual letters and arranging them to spell simple words, such as, ‘Mom, ‘Dad’, ‘Yes’, ‘No’.

New routine

School may be a shock to the system for some kids. The rigorous routine of a regular school day may be unfamiliar to some and overwhelming for others. Prepare the youngest family members for this change with a school themed role play game. Roleplay is an effective method in engaging children into confronting everyday life. Maybe act out a school scene in your living room. Alternate roles between teacher and pupil to re-enact arriving at school in the morning.

All of this combined as well as a positive attitude will stand your child in good stead come the first day of school.