Preparing your child for school may seem like a daunting task for a new parent. What we each go through with our children ranges from vaccinations and our child’s anxiety over them to assuring they have the physical maturity of toileting themselves without supervision, to appreciation of cultural diversity. So, where do we start?

The National Education Association (NEA.org) discusses tips for helping your child succeed in school. Getting your child ready for school may include reading daily with your children and talking to them about what you’ve read. Getting ready may include visits to the library, teaching your children how to check out books and/or attend story time. Labeling your children’s clothes and toys with their name helps our children recognize their name in print. 

These tips among others can be found at http://www.nea.org/home/59838.html

Children of all ages benefit from communication skills learned at home. For younger children, communication skills begin with phonemic awareness, the ability to consciously pick out and manipulate from spoken words the smallest sound chunks that make up those words. These chunks are called phonemes. See: https://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/2399/School-Readiness.html#ixzz6TpElXmNS

This state university link also discusses social readiness and independence skills for young children. They address nutrition and health as key factors, as well as speech and hearing deficiencies parents should address prior to school.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC.gov) has many good insights on helping our children at the clinic when vaccinations are given. Prior to the appointment, utilize time at home to review the process, taking turns with your child being the one receiving the imaginary vaccination with confidence to help them overcome the anxiety of being vaccinated. Teach them to ask for help when they need it, and look at the nurse’s eyes when they are speaking. This helps build confidence—the same confidence that will do them well throughout their lives. 

The CDC also has many tips for preparing your child emotionally for vaccinations at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/visit/index.html

These tips include being honest with your child that although it won’t hurt for long, the shots will pinch or sting; and there may be more than one needle; and daddy or mommy will be embracing you, so don’t worry. Vaccination schedules are found with printable forms at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/

Children ages 18 years or younger, who are either American Indian or Alaska Native, Medicaid-eligible, Uninsured or Underinsured (meaning their insurance doesn’t cover vaccinations) are all eligible for free vaccinations through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. See: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/parents/index.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Ffeatures%2Fvfcprogram%2Findex.html

Cultural diversity and inclusivity are important areas to cover at home. Even for adults, workplaces are stressing inclusion and equity more and more. Everywhere there are benefits from seeing people’s differences as valuable for enabling everyone to thrive. Thus having at-home discussions with our child on how to appreciate the ways people are all alike and different allows our child the opportunity to perceive all people have the same value. 

According to this site, “The dimensions of diversity include race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, language, culture, religion, mental and physical ability, class, and immigration status.” 

Teaching these values prepares not only the young child who may see an emotionally or mentally disadvantaged child in their class but also prepares the teenager for the civil rights subjects in social studies classes and university students to prepare for future workplace successes.

Getting children ready for school may sometimes seem like a daunting task, but don’t give up. 

“Many of life’s failures are caused by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up” — quote by Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb.

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