There are skills that just need to be taught at home before a child enters kindergarten! These are the be “nice to others skills” that are just common sense lessons in life.
My top 5 skills a child needs to know before going to school………
#5 Respect for your belongings and those of others and the school.
When I see children writing on their desk I ask them if I can come to their house and do that on their table. I am told, “no, my parents wouldn’t let you”. Change what you say to “don’t write on the kitchen table” to “don’t write on any tables or desks”. When you teach your child a life lesson such as “look both ways before crossing the street”, make it “look both ways before crossing any street”. It is a choice of words that makes the lesson carry from your home to the outside world.
#4 Saying please and thank you!
I don’t care if your son or daughter says “yes or no ma’am”……I have seen that used to the excess that it is robotic and not used on the part of the child as a sign of respect. But I do care that if someone gives your child something or does a kind deed for them that they do say “thank you”. I do expect them to say please when asking someone to do something for them. Out of a classroom of 20, I have 3 that say please and thank you. Of those 3, two are English as a second language students……….. Is politeness getting lost in our culture?
#3 Clean up after yourself.
First of all, there isn’t a maid in the classroom. Teaching your child to get out one activity at a time and putting it away when finished really helps out everyone! It makes your child a better friend. Who wants to play with the child who always leaves the play area at clean up time and lets others do the job for them….yes, that will be your child if you let them play and you are the one to clean up after them.
#2 If you spill something don’t just stand there and call my name, go get a paper towel and start cleaning before it ruins your work, your classmate’s work or something else.
I have some Mother Hens and Father Roosters in my classroom. Whenever there is a spill or someone needs help, they are right there! They are also the first ones on the job with a paper towel. I have decide this is their nature because they have been taught at home to clean up spills and to help others.
#1 Flush the toilet!
No one likes to walk in to a bathroom where they have to flush the toilet before they can use the toilet. Can you imagine what a school toilet looks like after 2 or 3 non-flushers? When you are toilet training your child, after they hop off the seat have them flush the toilet (and put the seat down, boys). By the time they get to school they are pros and won’t even think about it. That will make everyone from other children to the clean up crew happy.
Just remember it is easier for you to teach a habit at an early age than for the classroom teacher to change a habit at age 5 or 6.