Kindergarten Readiness

kindergartenAccording to literature written by early childhood educators, there are steps you need to take to insure that your child is ready for kindergarten.

If you child has not attended a Pre-K program, separation anxiety may be an issue. Separating from you can be made easier by having your child spend time with other adults to get him or her used to being without you. Leaving your child with a baby sitter, or relative several times before kindergarten is due to begin may make leaving you at school less scary.

Kindergarten teachers advise making goodbyes quick, whether it is at school or at the school bus.  Know that if your child cries the teacher will know how to comfort him or her and most children stop crying once a parent is out of sight.

All children need to be able to tell the teacher when they need to use the bathroom and be able to go without adult assistance. Children cannot wear training pants, pull ups, or any kind of diapers. Children will be more comfortable if they practice in advance how to ask to use the bathroom, and how to use a bathroom equipped with multiple toilets, sinks, soap dispensers and paper towels.

In kindergarten, children are expected to socialize with other children. For some children it can be hard to do at first. Sharing toys, interacting and playing together may be new to your child. Having your child join a playgroup, or a church nursery or just going to a playground are good ways to get your child used to playing and sharing with a number of different children.

Work on tying shoe laces or have your child wear Velcro fastened shoes until they master the skill of tying laces. Have your child practice taking on and off sweaters, coats, boots and buttoning or zippering them up.

A review of basic manners such as saying please and thank you are also important preps for kindergarten. Going over personal hygiene behaviors with a child, such as coughing into a sleeve, using a tissue when sneezing, and washing hands after using the bathroom go a long way to making a child socially ready for kindergarten.


How to Foster Kindness and Good Behavior at Your Child’s Birthday Party

If you’re throwing a birthday party for your 5-7 year old, you may be wondering how to make sure the party goes over well in terms of behavior and how happy the kids are.

A birthday party isn’t much fun for anyone if the party guests bicker or act up in a way that’s stressful to you and the other chaperones. So, as a parent, it’s your responsibility to make sure you do everything possible to keep the party and the party guests’ behavior under control. Here are a few tips to help you do that:

Limit the guest list – Bigger parties are often only more fun in theory. Your child will have a better time if only his or her closest friends are in attendance at the party. Plus, it’s a lot easier to manage the behavior of 10 kids versus the behavior of 30 kids. So, try not to invite more than 15 guests, and remember that smaller and more intimate is usually better.

Plan the whole party out – Creating a schedule of activities for your child’s party may seem like extra, unnecessary work for you, but it will help you avoid chaos and less than perfect behavior at the party. Pick 5 or 6 activities the kids can engage in during the party and write down a schedule for those activities. A party that’s full of fun activities is the best kind of party for 5-7 year olds, who tend to stay out of trouble and feel more safe and secure, if they’re kept busy.

Give the kids a rundown of the rules – At the beginning of the party, make sure you explain any and all rules to the children. For instance, you might want to tell them that there will be no fighting, roughhousing, or yelling. Young kids usually take rules seriously but often need a reminder of what kind of behavior is appropriate.

Get help from other adults – It’s usually a good idea for you to ask family members and a few parents of the party guests to stick around at the party and help out. The more supervised the children are, the less likely they are to get into trouble or quarrel.

Keep refined sugar to a minimum – This doesn’t mean you have to do without the birthday cake. Just keep the other snacks and drinks at the party healthy and low in sugar. Consider serving cheese and crackers with some all-natural juice as opposed to sweet tarts, cupcakes, and soda. Serving the kids too much sugar just means they’ll have a lot of energy at the beginning of the party and will feel crabby and tired at the end of the party.

Be prepared for a few snags – Make sure you have a first aid kit on hand and the phone numbers of all of the parents of the party guests. Kids trip, fall, and scrape their knees when they’re running around and having fun at a birthday party. Additionally, you might have to call the parent of a sick or unhappy child who wants to leave the party early. Preparation is key.

It’s relatively easy to throw a successful children’s birthday party if you’re willing to do a little bit of work. So, consider trying out the tips above, and don’t forget to spoil your child a little bit at his or her party!

This guest post is authored by Melissa,  a mom and guest blogger from The Party Works, ( an online party supply retailer. She writes for a variety of blogs about party planning, child behavior, and party supplies, including Mario party supplies.




What’s Being Said About “Can Do” Street…


What it is: Can Do Street is a website that has games, lessons, and videos focused on character development for young students.  The site is membership based but does have some free content. Hector’s Being Selfish is a free video on the site that teaches students what it means to be selfish.  The cartoon is easy to understand and helps kids recognize selfishness and what it means to be a good friend.  Throughout the video, students are given the chance to interact by answering questions.

How to integrate Hector’s Being Selfish into the classroom: This videos helps children recognize selfishness and offers ways that they can be a good friend.  Character education needs to be taught, we can’t expect that all children will naturally pick it up.  Kids come from different backgrounds and differing expectations at home.  Hector’s Being Selfish is a good video to begin the school year with, and would be a great reminder mid-year.  Watch the video as a whole class and invite students to vote on their answers throughout the video.


Guest Post…Social Skills by Julie Blacker

We have all been there. Perhaps it was when you watched in horror, as a date slurped soup from the spoon that was held in a manner similar to Beast in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” Maybe it was the way that a friend ordered the server around at brunch with such disdain that you knew your pancakes were going to have a little bit of the “special sauce.” Or how about the child that walked up to your table and took a French fry? Those instances might seem trite, but they all indicate the decline of social graces. Watching that child take what was not rightfully his (or hers!) without any sort of consequence demonstrates the imperative need to return social skills to modern society.

On January 12,2009, Perri Klass had an article published in The New York Times that discussed the need to instill social skills into [your] children. “Making Room for Miss Manners Is a Parenting Basic” made a case for teaching children manners because it is what will ensure their success later in life. Completely agreeing with the doctors’ assessment of a child in the examining room: the behavior that is displayed there is a microcosm and a precursor of what is to come…

Early childhood is the optimal time to educate young children, as their minds are like sponges. Learned behaviors become innate, so it is imperative to teach them social skills at such an impressionable stage. Enter EtiKids: the program presents a foundation of necessary life skills, which incorporate cognitive, social, emotional and physical domains. Children will use the senses of touch, smell, sight and sound to understand and manipulate their environment- a tall order for such little people. It has been working though.  Parents have reported that their children are now correcting them; ensuring that mouths are closed while chewing and “pleases and thank yous,” said.  Rest assured that these kids would not eat the French fries off of my plate! And of course their parents will ask me politely, rather than demand my assistance.

Julie Blacker is the director and owner of EtiKids, a program that teachers social skills and school skills to children in a fun and developmentally appropriate manner.  Visit for more information.


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