If you have children preschool age and have decided not to send them to a preschool, this is for you. Here are some things you can do with your child to help prepare them for Kindergarten.
Options are limited in a small town.
In a small town there aren’t bowling alleys or Things To Do or, as it turns out, preschool options.
Our choices were as follows:
- Send your child to school every day all day free with a state program
- Send child to preschool every day all day with a private program
- Send child to preschool 2 or 3 mornings a week and pay the same tuition you’d pay if they went all day every day
There are a few home day cares, but the waiting lists are a mile long and they too cater to working moms who need childcare Monday to Friday.
As a stay at home mom (you can see my resume here) I didn’t want to send her somewhere every day. I stay at home to be with her so that didn’t work together with our priorities. I also didn’t want to send her 3 mornings a week and pay for 5 full days. That is just silly.
So we evaluated the situation and elected to keep her at home. Full time. With us. And you know what?
She’s thriving in Kindergarten!
5 Things To Do With Your Preschooler If You Don’t Send Them to Preschool
Every family is different, so I’m not trying to convince you to keep your kids home from preschool (I’ve already done that here, ha!) but this is for those moms who know they want to keep their kids at home, but still be prepared for Kindergarten next year.
Teach Them Basic Concepts
If you Google “What do my kids need to know before Kindergarten?” you’ll get immediately stressed. Worried. Anxious. Convinced there’s no way your child can now go to Harvard since they don’t have a basic understanding of the Pythagorean Theorem by 4.5.
Really, the kids are alright.
I personally didn’t want to spend hours a day preparing them for school because they’ll be in school the next 13+ years at least.
What we do like, however, is ABCmouse. ABCmouse is a fun, interactive, and easy to understand online software that helps teach preschoolers basic concepts. Colors, following instructions, shapes, and a lot of other stuff. Both my children who are old enough for ABCmouse absolutely love it. It gives you assessments based on age and creates Lesson Plans to help teach your children necessary learning skills. If you do this every day for 30 minutes your child will amaze you with what they know.
You can get your first month of ABCmouse free right here!
Get Them Used to Other Kids
If your child is a confident and take charge temperament, they’ll likely be fine with school. They’ll relish the idea of being in a crowd, making new friends, and having regular social interaction. On the other hand, if you have a more reserved child who tends to go into the background, it’ll be important to get them used to other kids. To go from being at home 24/7 with mom to being at school 40 hours a week with hundreds of children might be extremely overwhelming.
Ultimately, kids need parents to help them fit in.
Here’s how you can get your child used to other kids before school:
- Church groups and events.
- Play dates.
- Story time at the library.
- Friends homes, visits, and parties.
- Fun sporting activities for preschoolers.
The possibilities are endless, but do try to put yourself in your child’s shoes… if they are nervous being around other kids, expose them to this earlier rather than later.
Teach Them To Respond to Authority
While I think we should respect everyone, I’m not a believer in the old way of doing things that says every Grown Up can tell my kids what to do. No, actually, they can’t. If I don’t know you and my kids don’t either, they don’t have to do what you say.
However, I do believe that kids should learn to respond and respect the authorities we’ve placed over them. Let your children know which adults in their lives they must obey. Family, Sunday School teachers, karate or baseball coaches, etc. If your child has never had to mind anyone but you, they might be slightly confused come school time. Here are some books that will help prepare your child for Kindergarten.
Introduce School Gradually
My mother and aunt have been in the education system for decades. One thing they advised me that I hadn’t even thought of? To help kids learn to use a mouse. Technology is a way of life these days. Kids tutoring and assesssments are done online and if your child isn’t able to use a mouse or navigate even the simplest program on the computer they may find the transition difficult.
(Yes, that is my mouse from high school. I can’t believe I still have it, but now it’s sentimental.)
Teach them to use a mouse, to follow verbal instructions online, and to open and close a program. In our State, the STAR assessments are taken online and my daughter’s teacher said t her initial testing may even be lower than is truly accurate due to computer skills. I am not a big screen time proponent, but neither do I want my child to be ill prepared.
ABCmouse will help teach your child all the basics of computer use at their own level.
Let Them Play!!!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. A million times more.
Kids need to play.
They need freedom to be bored, to explore, to use their hands, and to create something out of nothing. They need to learn how to be with themselves and how to use their growing brains to think up scenarios. Imagination! There’s a difference between playing and being entertained and when the kids start school there is far less time to play. During these formative years when your babies are home with you, let them play.
Choose toys that allow imagination, creativity, and that encourage focus. You’ll never be sorry you did.
Oh… and a Bonus…
The bonus thing we can do for our kids to help prepare them for Kindy? Reading.
Reading does quite a few things for our children. Reading helps with speech skills, academic performance (in nearly every area), logical thinking skills, and the ability to focus and to sit still. But here’s how you can read to kids who won’t sit still if you’ve got a wiggler.
Don’t worry if everyone else’s child is going to preschool and yours isn’t.
“It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them.” -Leo F. Buscaglia
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