It’s the time of year when many parents are stressing about kindergarten registration and readiness evaluations.
According to Richard So, M.D., a pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic Children’s, oftentimes the key to success in getting a child ready to enter school isn’t just about knowing the ABCs.
“A lot of parents think, ‘Oh is my kid intellectually ready?’ But research has shown that kids who are better prepared emotionally and socially will have better academic outcomes,” he says.
To help prepare a child to be socially and emotionally ready for kindergarten, So recommends focusing on things like: Can the child get along with others? Can they share? Can they pay attention? Do they have empathy?
Separation anxiety also is a concern, especially if the child has not attended preschool or daycare. To help ease into the transition, So recommends setting up a routine prior to when school starts.
Start with a set wake-up time and go through the motions of a regular school day, including a dry-run of the drop-off at school. He said that even going to the school ahead of time and playing on the playground equipment can help children with their interactions during recess.
So says it’s important that children are eating healthy, eating breakfast and getting enough sleep.
Learning how to respect their teachers and how to regulate their behavior are important, too.
It’s important to schedule a visit with a pediatrician a few months before school starts, because not only do children need to be up to date with their immunizations, but the doctor also will perform a vision and hearing check, as well as screening for speech abnormalities.
And, of course, there is one very crucial aspect of kindergarten readiness that is easy for parents to overlook.
“Your kid has to be able to go to a public bathroom,” So says. “I think that’s one that is always forgotten, because, what I know about kids is they don’t like to go at school.”
— Submitted by Cleveland Clinic News Service