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Getting Your Kids Ready for School During Summer
Everyone wants their child to succeed in life. As a teacher, I also want the kids in my class to be successful (and that has nothing to do with teacher pay being tied to student success!). I am here to let you in on a little secret—kids learn through play! So let your kids play this summer. Throw in some meaningful play that requires them to think and follow directions. I can’t stress enough how important it is to follow directions!
Now you might be asking, what in the world is “meaningful play?” Meaningful play is play that teaches your kid a skill. I like the game Hi Ho! Cherry-O for teaching one-to-one correspondence and number sense. My kids love this game, and I love that it is teaching them math skills! Another good one for teaching inference skills is Outfoxed. This game is like the game of Clue that requires your kid to think through the clues to figure out who stole the pie before the fox makes it to his escape hole. There are a multitude of other games out there that teach kids skills, while still being fun. Browse Amazon and see what strikes your kids’ fancy and get to playing. There are bound to be some rainy days or scorching hot days this summer that will necessitate indoor play.
Games, Playgrounds, and Social Skills
For outdoor play ideas that also teach valuable skills, don’t overlook sidewalk chalk. Sidewalk chalk hones fine motor skills, but can also be used to write letters, numbers (hopscotch anyone), shapes, and colors. Develop their creativity with this fun and meaningful activity. “I Spy” is another game our kids loved to play, that can teach them a variety of skills. You control what you spy when it is your turn, so spy something that teaches them! How about “I Spy” something red while driving, and then stop by a local fire department to have your kids learn about people who help protect us. Plus, they’ll love the HUGE fire engines.
Another important part of preparing your child for school is social skills. Take your kids on a variety of outings that exposes them to different social situations. The library requires calm and quiet. It also offers a treasure trove of information and activities for young minds to grow. We spend one day a week at the library for story time, craft time, or just family book time. The playground teaches gross motor skills (running, climbing, stairs, etc.) and also how to interact with other children. Sit back and watch, but try not to intervene at the first sign of conflict.
Navigating Difficult Situations
Kids need to learn how to navigate simple conflicts with peers on their own. If you do have to intervene, give them the words to solve the problem, but don’t do the talking for them. For example, if someone took the toy your kid was playing with, teach your kid to say “I was playing with that, please give it back!” Kids need to learn how to use their voices to ask for what they want and to solve conflicts on their own.
And last but not least, teach your kid how to wipe their own butt! In all seriousness, teachers are not supposed to do this, nor do they have time to do this, so for your child’s own comfort, teach them how to do it on their own!
Obviously, this is not all inclusive of what your child should know to be ready for school, but it does include some of the things many parents do not think about, yet are so incredibly important. Teach your child to be independent and confident. They should have the confidence to speak up for themselves. They should be independent enough to navigate riding the bus or walking down the hallway to class by themselves. And of course, teach your child to respect others. A little respect goes a LONG way!