Ready to Learn: It’s More Than the ABC’s

Parenting 101

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – How do you give your child a leg up on learning? Knowing letters and numbers is certainly a good start, but social scientists say preparing a child for school requires more. Parents, don’t stress! There are simple steps you can take to ensure your child is healthy and ready to learn.

What skills does a child need to be ready for kindergarten? Letters are the building blocks of language.

And building blocks can help children with basic concepts of math. But social psychologist Kristin Moore says school readiness goes beyond the letters and numbers.

“It also means being able to self-regulate, to sit still in a classroom. It means to have social skills so that you can share and take turns,” explained Moore.

Moore says during COVID, parents can coordinate Facetime or Zoom with family and friends so kids can continue to connect with others. Ensure they are taking turns and sharing with siblings. Taking care of a family pet can help kids learn empathy. Moore says parents should also make sure they take time to focus fully on their kids. Talk to them a lot using full sentences.

“Interacting with kids, having conversations, we certainly find that routines are helpful, a routine bedtime and routine meals eating together,” continued Moore.

The researchers found preschoolers who are physically healthy with access to nutritious, balanced meals and who get adequate sleep — ten to 13 hours a day — will be better prepared to enter school.

Moore and her Child Trends colleagues analyzed parents’ self-reported information. Data came from the 2017 and 2018 National Survey of Children’s Health for kids ages three to five.


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