April 17, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Back to school tips for preschoolers

With summer coming to an end, parents must now turn their attention from fun outdoor activities to preparing their children for school. If this is their child�s first preschool or kindergarten experience, parents especially want to make this transition as fun and painless as possible.
First 5 LA, a child advocacy and grant-making organization, wants to help children and parents adapt to change and new experiences so that the transition to school will be an exciting opportunity for the family. �Parents and early childhood professionals share a role in making children feel safe and secure as they move to new educational settings,� said Evelyn V. Martinez, executive director of First 5 LA.
�Of course, such milestones in a child�s life can also cause anxiety, so strengthening the ties between early education programs and families will help create smoother transitions for adults and children,� Martinez added.
Ultimately, the most important thing is to assure your child that preschool and learning is interesting and fun, and Martinez urges parents to make a special effort to communicate with their youngsters about their new experience by asking them questions about their activities and their feelings while they were at school.
�Ask children the kinds of questions that will extend interaction rather than cut it off,� explained Martinez. �Questions that require a yes or no or a �right� answer lead a conversation to a dead end. Instead, try questions that require them to describe, explain or share ideas.�

Whether a child is about to go to kindergarten or daycare, or is already enrolled in preschool, First 5 LA offers transition tips for the first day so that both parents and children are comfortable and prepared.
� Get excited � Tell her what her day will be like: kids paint, play outside, sing and have story time.
� Test run � Visit the school with your child on a day when students are there and introduce her to the teacher.
� Start new routines � Put him to bed at an earlier bedtime and lay out his clothes the night before.
� Create a leaving routine� Say goodbye and give him a hug � even if he gets upset. Slipping away can make him feel confused.
� Expect backsliding � Crying, potty accidents, and nighttime wake-up calls are normal and usually last for only a few weeks.
� Kindergarten-readiness skills – Have your child name six parts of his/her body, learn shapes and colors, practice counting objects up to 10 and have your child fill in the blank: My name is ______________ and I am _____ years old.
For more on how to prepare your child for school, visit www.ReadySetGrowLA.org. For other resources available call 1-888-FIRST5-LA, a free information and referral resource for all families with young children in Los Angeles County. Operators are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help in 140 languages.
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