When You Can’t Afford Preschool: Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten

Many parents would love to give their children a head start in their early childhood education by sending them to preschool. Preschool is an excellent opportunity for kids to get used to a structured learning environment, adjust to being away from home and their parents during the day, learn their basic ABCs and 123s, and even learn how to get along with their peers, too.

There are different forms of preschool. The priciest options are generally full-day programs at private school, but there are also more affordable options. For instance, many churches offer a part-time Mother’s Day Out program that offer many of the same benefits as a private, full-time preschool program. The economy sure does have a lot of parents today struggling to make ends meet, though, and many parents just cannot scrape up enough money to enroll their kids in even a part-time program. If you are in this boat, your child doesn’t necessarily need to be set behind his or her peers on the first day of kindergarten. There are some things you can do at home to help your child prepare for kindergarten. Here are some ideas:

Workbook Pages. You can buy a few workbooks at discount book stores or the local grocery store, or you can even download pages for your child to work on off the internet. You will want to start with the basics like ABCs, shapes, colors, learning how to trace with a pencil or pen, the numbers 1 through 10, and other such pages. If nothing else, you can even make up your own pages.

Art Work. Kindergarten generally focuses on skills like learning how to cut with scissors, use a glue bottle, color between the lines, and trace. You can combine these skills with the topics mentioned above, like cutting out a giant letter “A” and gluing some items that start with “A” onto it.

Singing Songs. Think back to some of the songs from your own childhood days, and you will no doubt remember a slew of kids’ songs to sing. You can also find some fun songs online that focus on things like animal sounds, the alphabet, counting, and more.

Reading. If you aren’t currently reading to your child, you should make an effort to do this every single day. Use your finger to point along at the words. As the weeks progress, you can point out some easy, common words like “dog” and “cat” and show your child how the words are made of letters and each letter makes a sound. Then you can transition into guiding your child to reading on his or her own.

Socialization. As important as it is to learn the ABCs and 123s, it’s also important for your child to learn to socialize in group situations, too. If your child is not currently participating in group activities or going on regular play dates, you will want to make an effort to add these events to your schedule. You can consider visiting free story time events at your local library, joining a local play group that meets in your area, or even heading to the park and meeting new people each day.

It will take some regular effort to get your child prepared for kindergarten, but when that first year of school goes off without a hitch, you will find your time and effort were well worth while!

Here are a few other articles written by this author:

How Positive is Your Parenting?

Helping Your Kids Through Fights with Friends
Kids and Friend Drama: When to Step In

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