Are you ready for week 2 of Get Ready for K Through Play? If you joined us last week, you'll recall that this is an 8 week series with some of my favorite bloggers that will give you all the tools you need to prepare your child for Kindergarten in fun, hands-on ways. Each week, we are going to focus on a different Kindergarten readiness skill. This week we are sharing ways to develop Social and Emotional Skills that will help your child succeed in Kindergarten and I will be focusing on helping the shy child prepare for Kindergarten. When you;re done here check out the Must Have Resources to Get Ready for Kindergarten.
Helping the Shy Child Prepare for Kindergarten
Starting Kindergarten can be a stressful time for children. Some are leaving the routine of preschool and their friends, while others will have their first school experience and not know what to expect. This stress can be magnified for a child who is "shy" or struggles with social skills. I know this because one of my twins exhibits shy behavior and takes a while to warm up. I love this quote from Dr. Sears - "Shyness is a personality trait, not a fault." If your child has this particular personality trait (and even if they don't) the following tips are useful for helping the shy child prepare for kindergarten.
1. Role play - Set aside some time each week where you set up a pretend classroom at home. Pack your child's lunch box with pretend food. Make a shelf into a cubby area. Pretend to be the teacher and practice how your child will enter the classroom, make eye contact with the teacher and say hi. A child may not do this in the actual setting (and you never want to force a child to make eye contact or talk) but practicing ahead of time will at least expose your child to what is expected of them.
Role playing is also great for preparing your child to make friends with other kids. Take turns saying things such as "What's your name" "My name is" "Do you want to play?" and other phrases they would use in social situations. Again, the idea is not that your child will do this the first day or even the first week of school, but you will be providing your child with some conversation starters that they can use when they feel more comfortable.
2. Read books - There are so many great books about Kindergarten and the earlier you can start reading them the better. Summer is a great time to share these books and talk about what the characters are doing in Kindergarten. Some books we have been reading to prepare for the big day include: Welcome to Kindergarten, On the Way to Kindergarten, Kindergarten Rocks, The Kissing Hand, How to Be a Friend.
3. Play dates - Do you know anyone who will be attending Kindergarten at the same school? Set up play dates with them over the course of the summer. Sometimes schools are able to help set these up. If not, try a local mom's club or group. If you are part of a local online group, ask if anyone has a child entering K at your school. You can also try asking neighbors if they know anyone. This is a great way to help your child make a friend or two before the year begins. Seeing a familiar face on the first day of school can help the shy child feel more comfortable.
Now that you have learned all about helping the shy child prepare for kindergarten, here are some more posts about social and emotional skills from the other Get Ready for K Through Play bloggers:
5 Ideas for a Successful Playtime with Friends from Toddler Approved
Teacher Says! A Following Directions & Listening Game from Coffee Cups and Crayons
Social and Emotional Skills for Children from Mama Smiles
Fun Games to Promote Sharing & Turn Taking from Rainy Day Mum
Top 5 Social Skills for Kindergarten Readiness from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas