Social Readiness and Your Child: What You Can Do

By National PTA

As summer comes to an end, send your child to school confident, curious, and cooperative. Children start school with different degrees of social and emotional maturity. These qualities take time and practice to learn for school readiness. Give your child opportunities at home to begin to develop the following positive qualities.

Children must feel good about themselves to believe they can succeed. Confident children are more willing to attempt new tasks, try again if they don’t succeed the first time and solve problems independently.

Confidence and Independence

  • Teach your child to accomplish basic self-help tasks, such as zipping their coat, tying their shoes and putting toys away.
  • Let them work independently on activities such as completing puzzles.
  • Guide your child to make their own choices, rather than deciding everything for them, and ask what motivated them to make that choice.
  • When your child misbehaves, tell them you’re angry with their behavior and why, but emphasize that they are not a bad person. For example, say, “I love you, but it’s not okay for you to draw on the walls. I get angry when you do that.”
  • Kiss and hug your child several times a day

Curiosity and Motivation

  • Take your child to new places. Ask them to describe what they see.
  • Introduce your child to new tasks and games regularly.
  • Encourage your child to finish difficult or frustrating tasks.
  • Read lots of stories and work up to reading longer chapter books—try reading one chapter each night or as long as they remain interested and focused.
  • Show a positive attitude toward learning. Talk about all the things your child has to look forward to when they go to school.
  • Encourage your child to work out problems by stressing positive outcomes. For example, ask, “What can we do to keep your brother from knocking over your favorite blocks?”
  • Direct your child’s activities, but don’t be too bossy. Let them decide how to spend some of their time.
  • Give reasons when you ask your child to do something. Say, for example, “Please move your toy truck from the stairs so no one falls over it,” instead of “Move it because I said so.”

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