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As my daughter gets ready to head off to school, she (and I) have been filled with a lot of anxiety. When we first talked about whether or not she should start preschool, there were many things that crossed our minds. Was she ready? Even if she is ready, is preschool necessary? Needless to say, I wanted more time to spend at home with her before she started school, and I felt she just needed to be a kid a little bit longer. In my mind, children need time to dig in the dirt for no reason other than digging in the dirt. The sooner she was rushed off to school, the more I felt as if she was losing this time to just be a kid. In the end, I realized I was being a bit selfish, and well irrational.
To help ease our anxiety of her starting school, I have made sure over the last several months to work with her on these primary skills that she will need in order to be successful in school. Along the way, we have found some really awesome books that have helped as well, and are the perfect addition to any home library.
Have fun back to school shopping together
Back to school shopping has never been my thing. However, I wanted to make sure that knew going to school could (and would) be a blast. So I made sure when I went school shopping, she came with me. She absolutely loves art, so I made sure had plenty of Crayola products on hand. Since all of my kids need some type of crayon, colored pencil or marker set, I stocked up. Our favorite deals were the 50 pack of Crayola Markers, and lots of products from their Silly Scents collection, including these Mini Twistables.
Establish a routine
Practice the new routine of getting ready and going to school before the first day. The more prepared everyone is, the better. Children perform best when they know what to expect.
It can be easy to want to continue to do certain things for your kids. However, when your kids go to school, they’re going to have to do things on their own that they may or may not be doing on their own consistently at home. Such as going to the restroom, putting on and zipping/buttoning up their coats, opening their milk cartons, and taking their plates to the trash.
Praise your child often for their successes. Communicate, listen, and answer their seemingly endless questions, even if it’s the same questions over and over again. The types of questions asked, reflect their cognitive and emotional development. Lastly, don’t hold back on the hugs and reassurance.
Read every single day
Without a doubt, this is the most important activity you can do to help your child develop language and reading skills. While exploring a variety of books is great, if your child has a favorite that they want to be read over and over, don’t hold back. Read it for as long as they want to hear it.
Books to empower
Here are some of our favorite getting ready for school books. These aren’t your typical books about school, however, they are about preserving and learning to just be you.
The Water Princess
Inspired by the true story of African–born model Georgie Badiel, The Water Princess teaches girls about their strength and the hope that comes when standing for their dreams.
Written by Misty Copeland, the first ever African American principle for the ABT, Firebird tells the story of a young girl whose confidence is fragile and who is questioning her own ability.
The Princess In Black
Who says princesses have to wear pink gowns? The Princess in Black sends a great message that you can’t judge a princess by her gown,
Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.