How to help your children be smart
Today it seems as if everyone, including young children, are plugged in. Playing games, using educational apps, watching YouTube videos, thumbing through social media—screen time is a part of our culture. And while technology has become a critical tool in our lives, it has also been linked to emotional and health risks, including the tendency to sit instead of being physically active, sleeping problems, social isolation, and bullying.
There will be focus throughout this year on mastering letters, sounds, and words. You’ll watch with delight as she takes her first steps toward reading and writing correctly, especially when those activities are linked, both at school and at home. Help your kindergartner have fun with language in everyday life this year and watch as her vocabulary explodes.
She will learn key fundamentals of math this year, too, and there will be countless ways (no pun intended) to encourage this. Educational standards vary across states, districts, and schools, and no two children learn at exactly the same rate, so don’t panic if your little one doesn’t start to read at the same time as the neighbor’s kid.
Letters and Sounds
They will also write short, simple sentences such as “The cat ran home.” Keep a special box or bin at home filled with writing materials (crayons, pencils, markers, paper, and notepads) so your child can practice writing simple sentences about special things he’s done or seen during the day. Ask about what he’s written, and have him read it aloud. Offer encouragement by displaying his writings on the refrigerator or on her bedroom wall.
Numbers and Counting
Get your kindergartner to look for the numbers one through 30 in magazines and newspapers. He can cut them out, glue them on paper, and put them in order. When you’re riding in the car or waiting in line, play a game of “What comes next?” Give your child a number and ask him to identify the following number. At bedtime, ask him to count how many stuffed animals he has, and ask, “How many books about dogs do you have? How fast can you count them?” Take two of these books away and ask, “How many are left?”
- Kids this age will learn to recognize, write, order, and count objects up to the number 30.
- They will be able to add and subtract small numbers (add with a sum of 10 or less and subtract from 10 or less); this focus on addition and subtraction will continue through second grade.
- Kids will learn how to name and describe common shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle) and to identify, sort, and classify objects by color, size, and shape.
Help your child understand the concept of time by saying what time it is during routine activities. Use and explain words like morning, noon, night, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Make a timeline together showing a typical day, with drawings of regular events and the time of day written beneath each one.