It’s been a very strange year for us all and one area which we have all felt, is our reduced contact with other people outside our families and bubbles. Now your child will be leaving the comfort of the people they know well and will be in a louder, busier classroom. This can be overwhelming so why not spend a little time around other children in the build-up to pre-school starting back? Meet in a playpark or invite a child back to your house/garden. If your child is shy, you might need to help them play. Your child probably hasn’t had to share their toys or take turns with other children (apart from with siblings) for some time and it can be hard to re-learn. Encourage role play and imaginative games like play coffee shops, hospitals, building and much more. Here are some toys that might come in handy to encourage this kind of play:
2. Sitting Still and Concentrating
Over the summer, your child might have forgotten the art of sitting still for more than 5 minutes! Playing age-appropriate short games not only helps develop these skills but they are also great for learning how to take turns and to know how to deal with not always winning. Below you will find some games that are suitable for this age group.
Jigsaw Puzzles are also brilliant for developing concentration and for teaching young children basic problem solving skills. When completed, they give them a sense of achievement and confidence to try harder ones. You can read about the benefits of Jigsaw Puzzles for this age group here.
Again, here are some games and puzzles that might suit your child, if you don’t already have some.
3. Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills is the ability to make movements using the small muscles in our hands and wrists. For pre-school aged children, they don’t have to have this mastered and they will practice this lots while in pre-school but if you want to prepare your child, there some activities you can encourage like cutting, scribbling and sticking. Here are some items that might come in handy:
4. Numeracy and Literacy
Again, children are not expected to recognise numbers or letters by the time they are starting pre-school but if your child is showing an interest in counting or letters, there’s no harm in encouraging it and there’s plenty of activities that you can get to help.
If you’d like help and inspiration on how to help your child recognise the alphabet and learn basic phonics, check out this blog.
5. Listening to Instructions and Obeying
Once your child starts pre-school, you will have to be more organised and you will need to get your child to work with you and not against you. Things like brushing teeth and putting on their coat should become second nature but often it takes awhile. Maybe it’s time to go over some basic rules in preparation for them having to obey rules in school too. Having a reward chart can be a fun activity for the child.
Sending your child to school for the first time is daunting for most people but give both yourself and your child time to adjust and before you know it, you’ll all love your new routine. The above is just a guideline from my own experience but remember that all children are different and they all develop at different speeds. Some will excel at socialising but may be poor when it comes to fine motor skills and vice versa so don’t compare your child with other children. Encourage them at what they are good at but also introduce fun activities that will help them learn and grown in confidence in areas that they are weaker at. The key for this age is to make it fun and to let them learn at a pace that they can cope with.
If you are looking for some new toys for this age group, outside of the linked suggestions above, you can find my full range of toys and games for 3-5 year olds here.
Enjoy your last month of not having to rush everyone out the door by 9am!
PS. One skill that you might want help with if you have preschool aged children is how to resolve when children fight over toys. If you do, then you might find this blog helpful.