Many parents feel that familiar squeeze in their chest when they consider Kindergarten for their child. Their hearts may not feel ready for such a big change. A few half days of preschool each week was one thing, but Kindergarten suddenly means letting their child go, sending them into a school system they may or may not be ready for. Here are a few things to consider before making the decision to keep your child home.
Is there a parent who has time/energy to be with a child?
Practically speaking, someone must be home with the child. This could be Mom, Dad or even a grandparent who enjoys spending time with the child. If a parent is home sleeping because her/she worked the nightshift, it doesn’t count. Whoever is home must be available to tend to and actively engage with the child’s needs.
Kindergarten at home does not have to have a strict curriculum. A parent can teach a child through common activities such as planning chores, making meals, taking a walk in nature and going to the grocery story. What’s important is that the parent involve the child. Let him or her have a role. Maybe it’s the child’s responsibility to feed a pet or set the table. And the parent must be willing to be patient, to take the time to teach the child rather than rushing through each activity.
All work and no play make for a dull day
Children learn through play, yet adults often feel compelled to work. A parent who provides a Kindergarten experience for their child at home should build in plenty of opportunities for play. Play doesn’t necessarily mean creating a mess. Some parents enjoy letting kids draw or paint or build train tracks. Or play can involve other creative activities such as acting out stories, sorting laundry or like colors, digging and planting in the garden. The options are endless. However, kids need supervision and guidance.
Are there social opportunities for the child?
Do you live in an isolated area or in a neighborhood where there are other kids? Is your child a loner or someone who enjoys being with others? No matter where you live and what your child’s personality is, social interaction is important for your child.
If you live in the country, plan a playdate at home or meet at the park with other families who have children at home. It’s important to provide both quiet one-on-one friend activities and those with groups. Kids learn through their experiences, so provide them with a good mix.
Every family is unique, and children thrive in different situations. It’s okay if your family doesn’t look like the one next door. And don’t be afraid to consider sending your child to school if he or she craves stimulation or social interaction that a parent can’t provide.