Now that the summer is half way over, it is time to think about how ready your child is to start school. A basic knowledge of the alphabet and numbers is a great start, but children also need to be emotionally ready for the first day of school. School success requires children to be able to understand their own feelings and the feelings of others, cooperate with other children and adults, and resolve conflict.
Young children sometimes have trouble with expressing feelings properly. They also have trouble relating to other people. One strategy to get children to understand others feelings is to ask them, “How would you feel if that happened to you?”. This question forces the child to think about their feelings and how they would react in the same situation. You can also use books as a starting point for talking about feelings. Hurty Feelings by Helen Lester is a book about a very emotionally fragile hippo who learns how to deal with her feelings. This book will open up discussion about feelings and self-confidence.
Another part of being emotionally ready to start school is a child’s ability to cooperate with others. This includes sharing, listening when others speak, and following directions. The preschool age is when children’s self-control starts to increase. It’s Sharing Day! By Kristen Larson uses Dora the Explorer to promote sharing. You can also show how important these things are using playtime. For example, you can play simple card games like go fish, which require taking turns.
The last part of a child being emotionally ready to start school is the ability to resolve conflict. It is important to lead by example for your children. You can also use books as a starting point to talk about the topic. Hands Are Not for Hitting by Martine Agassi Ph.D. shows children positive ways to deal with anger.
School will be starting before you know it. It is important that your child is not only academically ready but also emotionally ready.