by Focus on Your Child

Part of the Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten? Series:

1- Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten?   

2- Kindergarten Readiness: Your Child's Emotions    

3- Kindergarten Readiness: Your Child's Fears   

4- Readiness for Kindergarten: Your Child's Mind

5- Kindergarten Readiness: Reading                  

6- Kindergarten Milestones

 Kindergarten can be an exciting time for you and your child because it sets the stage for his entire school career. You will look on in wonder as he grows into a more capable, confident, and enthusiastic learner.

But sending your child off to kindergarten can be rough. As the day approaches, you will probably experience a mix of feelings ranging from relief to fear. And your anxiety will be rooted in some specific questions that nag you.

Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions.

How Can I Tell if My Kindergartner's Body Is Ready?

Five-year-olds come in all shapes and sizes. Some students are "off the chart" for size and physical dexterity. Others face severe challenges. There are, however, certain traits you may see in a typical five-year-old:

  • He manages his own bathroom needs.
  • He has increased poise, coordination, and stamina.
  • He can hop, skip, and jump.
  • He favors one hand over the other.
  • He begins to lose baby teeth and get secondary teeth.
  • He is learning to tie his shoes, button his buttons, and zip his zipper.
  • He climbs stairs using alternating feet.
  • He can throw and may be able to catch a ball.

What Kind of Physical Activities or Sports Are Best for Five-Year-Olds?

Most children love to try different sports and activities at this age. The secret is to help your child view them as fun. Any five-year-old who jumps, plays outdoors, and does other things that help develop large muscles is getting the exercise he needs.

All learning starts with play. You can best prepare your child for kindergarten by providing play experiences that challenge him and that he enjoys. Also, set a good example — remember to play yourself!


How Much Sleep Does a Kindergartner Need?

After a busy day in kindergarten, your five-year-old may find it easier to fall asleep at night than he has in the past. However, getting up in the morning may be more difficult. Night waking is rare among five-year-olds, perhaps because children this age do not typically take naps. If you establish a routine and stick to it — bath followed by a story, for example — bedtime usually goes well. In fact, it may be his favorite time of day.

Begin to adjust your child's bedtime and nap schedule several weeks before school starts. That way, he will not have too many changes in routine to contend with at the same time.

Copyright © 2003, 2011, Focus on the Family.  Used by permission.

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