For every parent, the time will come for your child to start preparing for preschool or kindergarten.

Early childhood development and education are crucial to young minds in order to help them reach their development milestones — such as attending school and socializing with other children — is key in preparation for the advancement of their education.

Here are some things you can do to help your child attain these crucial milestones.

PLAY

Allowing free play and some scheduled playtime is the number one thing you can do to help your child prepare for school. Play allows time with other children, which develops social skills they will need for the rest of their lives. It allows children to think and problem solve on their own time and lets their curious minds discover how to construct things or experience textures. Free-play time is the optimal learning environment for your child. Here, they can rapidly increase their cognitive, social, and physical abilities.

READ

Reading to your child and teaching them basic letters and sounds is another key step in preparation for school. Reading to your child can help them begin to understand the shape and sounds of letters which will help them identify pictures with words. Another fun idea is to label items in your house. Point to the word when saying the name of the object to your toddler. This helps them not only read the name but will help them retain words and identify objects. Outings to the zoo, singing songs, repeating your own child’s words back to them, and repetition of activities such as these increase your child’s developmental progress with reading and understanding. 

PREPARE

Another useful idea for school preparation is to actually go to the preschool. Asking if your child can visit and/or play in a setting with other children will allow them to familiarize themselves with the environment, which can increase their comfortability and confidence. Visiting the school in advance can also help reduce the shock of the first day for both parents and child. Many schools allow tours and visits so parents and children can explore their new environment.

Taking these steps to prepare your child can help them to stay on track with their development and be ready for school and further learning, even if the parents aren’t quite ready for them to grow up. 

Michelle Dell’Aquila is a licensed therapist and the director of Child Development Advice, an educational consulting agency. She can be reached at childdevelopmentadvice.com

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