Our children grow faster than we can keep up with!
We find ourselves buying new shoes and new clothes constantly, as our little ones sprout up. As fast as our children seemingly grow before our eyes, it’s important to note that during this time, they’re also growing mentally.
While we really cannot impact their physical growth much – apart from making sure that they get the right nutrition and enough physical exercise – there is actually a lot that we parents can do to help the cognitive and emotional development of our children.
Here are some of the skills that your children should have mastered (with your help of course!) by the time they’ve reached preschool.
This is the time of tremendous social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development of your child. Remember, the seemingly simple skills mastered at this age will set your child up for a lifetime of learning and success.
#1 Be independent with basic self-care skills
By the time your child is ready to start preschool, he should be independent and able to perform some basic self-care skills such as washing hands, wearing clothes with simple fastenings, opening simple boxes, wiping the nose, covering mouth while coughing, and zipping up his backpack.
Do remember, that your child may need occasional assistance from you.
#2 Know their manners
Start teaching manners early, so that your child knows how to say please, thank you, and excuse me at the appropriate moments by the time he starts preschool. It demonstrates that your child can show respect and consideration for others. The correct use of these polite phrases also shows that your child understands basic social cues.
In addition, he should be able to greet others (or respond to others’ greetings) and have table manners.
#3 Be able to follow instructions and accept rules
By the time they get to preschool children are expected to be able to display patience and self-control. They should be able to wait patiently for their turn and sit still meanwhile (they may need a reminder or two, though).
Your child will be expected to understand basic rules and guidelines. This will help them to understand what is acceptable and what is not and to respect class property.
They should also be able to take “No” for an answer, without throwing a tantrum. This demonstrates that they understand what acceptable behavior is and what is not, what a reasonable request is and what is not.
#4 Be able to own up to mistakes
If your child is able to own up to his mistake at this stage, it demonstrates maturity and a capacity for learning that can do wonders for them down the road. Being able to recognize that they have made a mistake, and accept it also shows a sense of humility and an understanding that no one is perfect.
#5 Be willing to ask questions
This may come as a surprise considering children seemingly fire off questions every second of the day, but it’s more important that they ask questions in the learning environment. Kids who don’t shy away from asking their teacher questions are obviously more prone to learning new information. It’s important that your children understand the concept of “ask and you shall receive.”
Also, they will be without you in the preschool, therefore they should be able to ask others for help when they need it.
#6 Be able to make decisions
Children need to be making decisions all the time, including when at play. The decisions that need to be made could range from what to play, whom to include, what to dress up as, what to call themselves etc. Your child should be able to make a decision independently about these small matters, rather than looking for adult guidance.
#7 Know their vitals
By the time children get to preschool age, they should remember their first and last name, address and phone number. You can help him learn the number, by showing him how to dial it on a toy phone and saying the numbers out loud. Also, if your child has an allergy or special health need, make sure he understands it and is able to communicate it.
But do remember that every child’s preschool readiness depends significantly on his individual personality and temperament. So while he may tick many of the skills of the checklist, you may have to work that little bit harder with him to get him ready for the rest.