Now that kindergarten is over and your child has been introduced to the outside educational world, they are ready to move on to the first grade. This is one of the most noteworthy and exciting years that your child will enjoy for many reasons. It also can be one of the most challenging if you do not prepare ahead of time. Here are some awesome tips to help your new 1st grader get the most from this landmark school year:
Pump the positivity
Right out of the gate you need to prepare your 1st grader for a whole new experience. How you present that experience will set the tone for the coming year. Some parents try to “prep” their children for the problems they might encounter and it has a reverse effect. Instead, use a positive approach. Getting them exited about overcoming challenges is much different than spooking them. Present the challenges to them but take a positive approach.
Begin to focus more on math
Although your child probably has been exposed to some simple math skills, first grade will bring several different new concepts in the realm of math. In first grade, they begin working on addition, subtraction, counting and various types of basic word problems and patterns. Begin to go over these math concepts ahead of time and the will be much more comfortable.
Read together constantly
First grade is the ultimate reading grade and almost everything you work on will be somewhat tied back to it. Getting your child to a reading level can happen long before they reach first grade if you work on it all the time. Read books to them and then have them read the book back to you. Visit the library and book stores often. Invest in books, books and more books….you will be glad you did.
Get in a routine ahead of time
If you don't have a solid routine in place long before school starts, the beginning of the school year is going to be a rude awakening. Start getting your child up early, set aside a study time in the afternoon and etch out time in your schedule to work with your child daily. Now….not later.
Take a ton of index cards and label everything in your home. Kids seeing what what words look like and associating them with certain items is invaluable at this grade level. Go ahead and make your home an index card playground. The company will understand the mess and if they don't….you need new company.
Work on telling time
Another key first grade skill is reading your clock. Throughout the summer, your child should wear a watch and you should constantly talk about what time of day it is. Make sure it is a hand watch and not a digital one. Otherwise, you are kind of defeating the purpose, right? Be positive in your approach and remember that it is not an easy skill to learn at first. Your kid will get it quickly enough if you spend time working on it regularly.
While the summer before first grade should be filled with learning opportunities, it should also be filled with fun. It is easy to get overwhelmed with all the skills you think they will need and to then pass that on to your child. Take a deep breath and relax…this too shall pass.