Ready To Learn: 5 Unexpected Ways To Prep Your Child For Pre-K

August 19, 2016  |  

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For many children, preschool or pre-K is the first time they are spending time away from a full-time caregiver. Mommies, daddies, and daycare workers are great at taking care of little ones until they head off to preschool. They often prepare them with rote memorization of their ABC’s and counting 1 to 10. This academic work is great preparation, but it is secondary to the personal care that is often forgotten until your child’s teacher lets you know skills are lacking.

Here are some quick and handy notes on how to prep your child for pre-K.

Dress themselves
A three or four year old should be able to get their clothes on independently for the most part. The most important piece of this with regard to being at school: pulling pants up and down when using the bathroom. Buttons, zippers, snaps… your child should either be able to work these on their own, or you should be sending them to school in elastic waist bottoms that they can easily pull up and down on their own. Parenting blogger, Tiffani Greenaway, says she’s teaching her preschooler “how to pick out his clothes and dress himself. It teaches him responsibility and it’s a skill he’ll need later in life. We’re setting the precedent for his future success.”

Feed themselves
Even an infant can grab food and push it into their mouths. When I say feed themselves, for preschool and pre-K purposes, it’s with regard to opening and closing food items. Putting their straw into their juice box, opening their snack packaging, and unwrapping sandwiches are often forgotten tasks that require fine motor skills.

Wipe their butt
Potty training is essential. While many children master the art of getting to the potty in time and handling their business, the wiping is a skill that often comes later. My son is one of those children who can do everything except wipe properly. We live in Florida, where the law says that at three years of age, schools are no longer permitted to wipe children when they’ve used the bathroom. Be sure your children are able to complete all the steps of bathroom care.

Wash hands
Hygiene is something we teach our children from early on. We all know that frequent hand washing is critical for preventing the spread of germs and disease. Your child should know how to properly wash their hands with soap and dry them (with paper, not on their clothing like my son tries to) before starting at preschool. Remind them of all the times they should wash hands including before and after meals, after restroom use, and when coming in from outdoors.

Know the Important Info
While the other tips fall into the personal care arena, the last is an essential tip in emergency management. Your child should know his name, address, parent’s names and a phone number to reach a parent or emergency contact. While it’s true that the school will have this on hand, your child should have this information memorized in case of an emergency situation. Begin working with them on this today, if you haven’t already.

What non-academic lessons are you teaching your child before they start school?

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