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early childhood mental health

Preparing your child for kindergarten

Overall emotional well-being is a significant factor for academic success. Here are strategies to help strengthen social/emotional learning skills for preschool-aged children:

Play Together
  • Play is how children learn about themselves and the world around them
  • Let your child direct the play
  • Ask your child questions during play
  • Encourage play with others
  • Give children the opportunity for unstructured playtime
Relationships
  • Open communication with teachers and other caregivers promotes positive relationships for a supportive environment
  • Modeling this behavior for your child promotes positive peer relationships for them
Engaged
  • Be present with your child
  • When engaging in activities give them your full attention to let them know that they are your priority at that moment
  • Actively participate and listen
Social Skills
  • Support self-regulation through allowing your child to share what is bothering them
  • Practice mindfulness activities to support emotion identification and being in the present
  • Help develop empathy by asking your child to consider others’ feelings
  • Be attentive to their self-perception especially during play
  • Consider toys and educational resources that align with their cultural background
Connect
  • Interactions with caregivers build vocabulary, comprehension, and communication skills. This can happen during everyday routines
  • Reading together is an opportunity to connect
  • When children feel secure and loved, they are more likely to engage positively with others and manage their emotions effectively
Healthy Habits
  • Establish daily routines
  • Limiting screen time
  • Provide structure and sleep routines to ensure they are getting enough rest
  • Maintain wellness visits with medical dental and vision providers for prevention and early identification of needs
Offer Choices
  • Use open-ended questions to better understand your child’s needs and emotions
  • Use guided options to help them identify an appropriate solution
Opportunities to Practice
  • Let your child know it is okay to make mistakes
  • Positive reinforcement encourages learning and feeling safe in learning from failure
Laugh
  • Make learning fun
  • Do things that interest both you and your child
  • Be playful

why it matters

According to Civil Rights Data Collection from 2017-2018 enrollment for black preschool students was at 18.2% yet they accounted for 38.2% of pre-school suspensions. A 2016 Yale Study indicated that black boys were tracked more frequently than other students contributing to the disparity in preschool suspensions. Below are some resources for parents, caregivers, and educators to consider.

Educational resources for caretakers

As you embark on the kindergarten readiness journey with child/ren, a few trusted resources that can help guide you are below.

Questions for caretakers to consider

As you support your child in their kindergarten readiness journey, here are some guiding questions to help inform how you’re supporting behavior modeling and learning:

What are things you do for yourself to model for your child how to express a variety of emotions?

How do you realize stressors are impacting you?

How do you take care of yourself before taking care of others?

How do I respond to my child’s experiences and join them during play?

A special thank you to our community resource partners:

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