A Guide to Kids’ Coughs

A Guide to Kids’ Coughs

What’s that sound? This chart helps decipher your child’s coughs

The key to finding it? Knowing what’s causing the hack to begin with. The chart below can get you on the road to peace. In the meantime, watch out for certain danger signs: If your child’s been coughing for more than two weeks or develops a high fever, take her to the pediatrician. If she has trouble breathing, begins turning blue, or can’t eat or swallow, head straight to the ER. And if you’re tempted to give her an over-the-counter cough medicine, hold up. Studies show they’re not effective, and some may even be harmful.

A Guide to Kids’ Coughs

If your kid’s cough is:

Wet and Productive

It means: she has mucus to clear out of her airways, or she’s got post nasal drip
The likely cause is: an infection (such as a cold, sinusitis, or pneumonia), or allergies
For sweet relief: Use saline nose drops, and offer her lots of fluids to thin the mucus. If she’s got a fever along with the cough, call the doctor to rule out a more serious infection.

Dry and Raspy

It means: there’s irritation somewhere in her airways
The likely cause is: an infection, allergen, or other irritant, such as dust, pollen, or smoke, that produces little or no mucus
For sweet relief: Soothe it as you would a wet cough, with nose drops and lots of fluids. If you suspect the cough is allergy-related, do your best to limit your child’s exposure and wait it out.

Sounding Like a Barking Seal or Dog

It means: her airways are constricted and/or inflamed
The likely cause is: croup, a viral infection that’s usually worse during the night
For sweet relief: Sit with her in a steamy bathroom for 15 to 20 minutes, or go outside in the fresh air if it’s cool (not cold). If she’s having significant trouble breathing, go to the ER.

Accompanied by Wheezing

It means: she has mucus to clear out of her airways, or she’s got postnasal drip
The likely cause is: asthma, or bronchiolitis, an infection of the lungs’ small airways that’s usually seen in kids under 3
For sweet relief: See the doctor to find out exactly what’s going on. If your child has asthma, her medication may need tweaking. If she has an infection, she may need antibiotics.

A Severe Coughing Followed by a “WHOOP”

It means: she’s literally coughing all the air out of her lungs, then taking in a deep breath
The likely cause is: whooping cough, a bacterial infection known as pertussis
For sweet relief: Call the doctor at once. He may prescribe antibiotics to make your child less contagious, but these won’t treat the cough or shorten its duration. This can be a dangerous infection in babies, which is why staying on top of the pertussis shot is so important.



How to Deal With A Resistant Potty Trainer

How to Deal With A Resistant Potty Trainer

A resistant potty trainer refuses to use the toilet even when parents have read every book on the subject. However, there are some things parents can do to eliminate resistance and toilet train for good. Find out the best tips and techniques in this useful article.

  • Potty training resistance happens more often with younger toddlers. Some parents want to teach them to use the toilet before they are ready. Some children, however, resist well into their fourth year. This makes parents wonder if their child will ever get out of diapers or go to school. Rest assured, potty training does eventually happen, but until then, there are some things you can do to deal with their outright resistance.

    • Eliminate the Power Struggle

      Toddlers showing resistance to potty training often get into a power struggle with their parents or care givers. The parents want so badly for their child to learn to use the toilet, but the child badly wants to show their independence. The best way to deal with this is to stop pushing so hard. Perhaps the child isn’t quite ready yet, or maybe the they want to decide for themselves when they’re ready for to use the toilet. Simply take a break for a few weeks or even a few months. This helps eliminate the negative feelings for both the parents and the toddler about toilet training.

    • Introduce Potty Training Entertainment

      During your potty training break, you should stop putting your child on the toilet, but don’t stop exposing her to potty things. For example, book stores and libraries have many books for children about potty training. Let your child flip through the pages and look at the pictures. Then, read the book aloud. Toy stores carry many different types of potty training toys. There is even a potty training Elmo. Some of the most common toys, however, include wetting dolls. These allow children to feed them water through a bottle or cup. Then they can put the doll over the toilet and watch it potty.

    • Exposure to Potty Trained Children

      Without pushing the issue, exposing a resistant potty trainer to a group of toilet trained children sometimes encourages bathroom excitement. Playgroups, day care centers, and even Sunday school classes take regular potty breaks. If a child with potty training resistance sees other children willingly sit on the toilet, they might be more inclined to try themselves. Also, sometimes when the parent leaves the room, the child feels less pressure and will try to potty for a different adult. Sometimes without knowing it, parents put additional pressure on their children.

    • Beginning Fresh

      Once parent and child take about a month off potty training, begin fresh. Tell the child the day before they try again that he will start trying to use the toilet again. Then, take him out for a pre-celebration. This puts a positive spin on the toilet and hopefully minimizes potty training resistance. The celebration could be at the park, out to eat, or to the store to buy some favorite underwear. Let your child know you’re excited about the challenge and don’t show dread, apprehension, or fear.

Tips for Pre K Classroom

Tips for Pre K Classroom

When Pre K come to your classroom in the fall, it is often their first classroom experience. For this reason, classroom management in a preschool must be well planned in advance. Use these tips to keep your Pre K room running smoothly.

  • When three-year olds enter Pre K,  this is often the first time they are setting foot into a classroom. Setting expectations early-on is essential to a successful school year.

  • Preparing Pre K for the Classroom

    One thing that worked well in my pre k classroom is a check in station for attendance. When my students arrived in the morningclassroom set up they were expected to find their name on the chart and flip over their card. Initially, I wrote their names each in a different color. This helped them recognize their name a little easier. Once the year progressed and they learned to recognize their name, I wrote the names all in the same color for a challenge. Then, the students had to look more closely at the letters and not just the color. You could also use Popsicle sticks with the student’s names written on them.

    Assigning classroom jobs gives the students a sense of ownership with their classroom. Some options for jobs may include:

    • setting up for snack
    • line leader
    • caboose (goes last in line)
    • paper passer
    • pledge leader
    • attendance attendant (makes sure everyone has checked in on the attendance chart)

    Jobs can be rotated on a weekly basis, giving the student several opportunities to learn his or her job. Teaching responsibility is the key when assigning these jobs. Set it up so that the students come in at the beginning of the week and each has to check the job chart and learn if they have an assigned job.

    One classroom skill that preschoolers may struggle with is walking in a line. The sooner you press the issue, the easier the process will become. When standing in the front of our line, I would say to my students “One, two, three…..eyes on me.” They would respond “One, two…..eyes on you.” The goal was to get them all looking forward at me while in line. When I took over my preschool classroom, the previous teachers had line leaders who chose which line to do that day. It could be a doggy line, race care, or anything else the child chose. I did away with that practice to my older students, because once they enter Kindergarten, students need to learn how to walk in a straight, quiet line.

  • Transitions

    preschool classroomMany preschool students struggle with transitions. When a child is playing at home, he is usually left to finish a task before having to move on to another. When in school, there are set times when a child needs to stop what they are doing and move on to the next activity. There are several things a teacher can do to ensure students make smooth transitions between activities:

    • Keep a set daily schedule. Students need structure, and if a schedule is followed, they will better accept transitions. If students know that snack follows play time every day, they can often better accept clean-up time. Routines help the day run smoothly.
    • Use a timer. If you have a group that has a difficult time transitioning from one activity to another, use a timer to count down the last five minutes of an activity. You may also want to use a timer during clean-up time. Preschool students often have difficulty focusing on cleaning up, and the timer gives them a goal and a finite time to complete their task. I had a clean-up song that we would play during clean-up and the room needed to be cleaned before the song was over. There was no punishment if we didn’t clean it up in time, but that was always our goal. As the class learned the song, they soon knew how to pace themselves and could anticipate the end of the song approaching.
    • Change location. If possible, change locations for different activities. It may help to have one room for play time and another for quiet work sessions. This helps set the tone for the activity and students can identify a particular room with an activity.
  • Conclusion

    Classroom management is all about planning. Every class is different; your class may be different from one day to the next. One absent student can make all the difference. Take the time to look at the needs of your group and take note of times when they need more guidance. Know when to take a step back and allow them to figure things out for themselves. As a preschool teacher, one of your goals is to get your students ready for Kindergarten and the structure of a classroom setting. Use the opportunities presented during the day to challenge your class to grow and develop their classroom behaviors.

A Parent’s Guide to Phonics

A Parent’s Guide to Phonics

What exactly is phonics? Many parents hear the term when their child is learning to read, but a lot of them have no clue what teachers are talking about–let alone how they might be able to help.

Plain and simple, phonics is the relationship between letters and sounds in language. Phonic instruction usually starts in kindergarten, with kids learning CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words by the end of the year. Words such as hat, cat, and pot are all CVC words.

But CVC is just the beginning. The bulk of phonics instruction is done in first grade. Students usually learn consonant blends (-gl, -tr -cr), consonant digraphs (-sh, -ch, -qu), short vowels, final e, long vowels, r-controlled vowels, and diphthongs. From second grade on up, phonics continues to build fluency and teach multisyllabic words.

Interest peaked, but don’t know where to begin? Here are some basic phonics rules to keep in mind as your child learns to read:

  • Short vowels: When there is a single vowel in a short word or syllable, the vowel usually makes a short sound. Short vowels usually appear at the beginning of the word or between two consonants. Examples of short vowels are found in the words: cat, pig, bus.
  • Long vowel: When a short word or syllable ends with a vowel/consonant /e combination, the vowel is usually long and the “e” at the end of the word is silent (this rule doesn’t apply in all cases). Examples of vowel/consonant/e combinations are: bake, side, role. Here’s another rule with long vowels: when a word or syllable has a single vowel and it appears at the end of the word or syllable, the vowel usually makes the long sound. Examples are: no, she.
  • Consonant blends: When two or three consonants are blended together, each consonant sound should be heard in the blend. Some examples of consonant blends are: black, grab, stop.
  • Consonant digraphs: A combination of two consonants sounds that together represent a new sound. Examples of consonant digraphs are: shop, chin, photo.
  • R-controlled vowels: When a vowel is followed by the letter “r,” the vowel does not make the long or short sound but is considered “r-controlled.” Examples are: bird, corn, nurse.
  • Vowel diphthongs: The term “vowel diphthong” refers to the blending of two vowels sounds – both vowel sounds are usually heard and they make a gliding sound. Examples include: moon, saw, mouth.

Phonics are the building blocks to reading. And while they’re not always intuitive, once you know the rules, they can help quite a bit. So learn the basics. Not only will you be helping your child, but you’ll finally understand what the teacher is talking about!


Preschool Themes for October

Preschool Themes for October

love the crisp sunny days of October! Fall colors, autumn harvest and a spooky holiday provide plenty of learning opportunities for preschoolers. Find tons of ideas to create a teaching theme for the month of October, from pumpkins to colorful leaves to firefighters!

  • There are lots of great October themes that you can bring into your preschool classroom!October is a month that provides plenty of opportunities for developing fun themes. Of course, there is candy-lover’s favorite holiday: Halloween. There is also inspiration provided by pumpkins, weather and leaves, Columbus day, Fire Prevention Month and Community Helpers Month. In fact, the Community Helpers theme is a great extension for Fire Prevention Month because preschoolers are just starting to learn about their surroundings and the people who are role models in their community.

    In this guide you will discover subjects geared toward specific topics such as how to arrange community helpers to visit the class, how to create a fire safety escape plan, and how to create a Halloween bulletin board. Resource articles about spooky pumpkin songs and puppets, a unique wind experiment, and how to create an edible boat for Columbus Day will also add some fun to October lesson plans.


    October is Fire Prevention Month. Teach your students about fire safety and firefighters by using a variety of activities. Learn a new song and fingerplay or find out what books are the best to use with this theme. Become skilled in the kitchen by learning how to make fire dog cookies, and learn how to prepare an escape plan in case of an emergency

    Community Helpers

    Community helpers are people who preschoolers look up to as role models in their community. In this section you will learn how to arrange for a community helper to visit the classroom, and where to take a field trip to get hands on experience. You will also become skilled on how to teach preschoolers to help out in their community by making donations and performing charity work.

    Columbus Day

    October 12 is Columbus Day. This may be the first time students are learning about this holiday, so in this section you will find out how to introduce Christopher Columbus and other related themes by using a variety of simple activities. Discover how to create an edible boat, a Columbus day song, how to make a three ships craft and celebrate Columbus day with an exciting salt water experiment.

    Leaves and Weather

    October is the time of year when leaves begin to change colors and fall off the trees; the weather changes as well. Help your students explore fall by teaching them songs and poems about leaves and have them create a leaf chart.

    Learn how to create leave and weather activities that will cover a wide range of developmental areas to accommodate the different learning styles. Learn a wind experiment and unique ways to teach the seasons.


    Fall is a perfect time to learn about pumpkins. You can easily transition the pumpkin theme into the Halloween theme. In this section you will learn which books are the best to teach about pumpkins and how to make pumpkin pudding. Discover how to make crafts such as, glow in the dark pumpkins or paper bag pumpkins. Explore unique activities that will get your students using their fine motor skills like, sequencing, using pumpkin seeds to create a project and a science activity. Learn pumpkin songs and how to create simple puppets your preschoolers will love.


    Halloween is in October and it is one of the favorite holidays of the year for most children. Your students will enjoy making these fun, creative projects. In this section you will discover how to introduce Halloween by asking questions and reading books, how to create crafts such as paper bag Jack O’Lanterns, paper cup black cats, cotton ball ghosts, plastic bag ghosts and balloon spiders and much more.

    Learn how to turn traditional games such as Bingo or an egg hunt into fun Halloween-themed ones such as a Pumpkin Hunt. Get ideas on how to make a bulletin board for Halloween and gain knowledge on new activities such as stuff a scarecrow and glue ghosts.




Halloween stories

Halloween stories

Halloween is a national holiday that captures the imagination of children and adults alike!

Reading books to children is another excellent way to celebrate this holiday and teach a number of valuable lessons: the joy of reading, the value of the printed word, and the importance of listening carefully to the spoken word. Often Halloween is associated with a variety of somewhat frightening images and ideas as ghost stories or tales of witches and goblins abound. But Halloween can also be a time to share some wonderful picture books that highlight the holiday in fun and entertaining, rather than scary, ways.
Here is a list of some Halloween Stores captivating and entertaining picture books with a Halloween theme.

You may also enjoy visiting your school or community library to find additional Halloween stories.

  • The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams
  • Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
  • Humbug Witch by Lorna Balian
  • There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat! by Lucille Colandro
  • Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman
  • The Hallo-wiener by Dav Pilkey
  • Arthur’s Halloween by Marc Brown
  • Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White
  • It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown by Charles Schulz
  • The Berenstain Bears Go on a Ghost Walk by Stan and Jan Berenstain

To hone auditory processing skills, ask your child questions about the characters and action in the story as you read and after the story is completed. Here are some tips and questions that can keep your child listening carefully and can also spark interesting conversations:

  • Stop reading in the middle of the story and ask your child what he thinks might happen next.
  • Do this again close to the end of the book and ask your child to predict how the story resolves.
  • Question your child about the characters in the book, as well. Which is her favorite?
  • Does she approve of the actions the characters are taking?
  • Can your child guess how the characters are feeling throughout the story?
  • Do those feeling change?
  • How would your child feel in the same situation?
  • If your child was writing the story, how would he write the ending?
  • Does anything in the story surprise your child?
  • What is your child’s favorite part of the story and why?

Have fun sharing some quiet time and delightful stories with your little trick-or-treater and have a wonderful Halloween!

Circle Time Hints

Circle Time Hints


KEEP IT SHORT. As important as Circle Time is, we get the best results when it is brief. Likewise, we don’t necessarily have to start the day with Circle Time. In fact, there can be several group meetings throughout the day.

START WITH THE CHILDREN. Take cues from careful observation of the children. When we see children losing interest in our planned activities, it’s time for us to do something different. When we discover a new interest, Circle Time is a great place to begin a project that builds on it.

BE READY TO GO. Circle Time stays dynamic when we are prepared and have the materials ready. If we are going to dance, we can have streamers on hand for everyone and all the songs cued. Reducing the amount of time that children have to wait for activities or materials contributes to our success.

STAY CALM DURING CHANGE. Transitioning in and out of circle time can sometimes be chaotic. To get children’s attention, we can whisper or talk quietly. If we want to help children calm down before a story, we can sing a song that starts off energetically and then ends more slowly or quietly.

BE PROACTIVE WHEN A CHILD HAS A HARD TIME. If a child has trouble adjusting to circle time, we can ask an assistant to sit nearby. A gentle touch or encouraging smile may be all that is needed. We might involve the child in passing out materials or singing a song. It’s okay if some children don’t want to participate in some activities. By offering that child a choice to join in or to read a book quietly, we help him feel in control within our limits.

BE FLEXIBLE. By aiming for a balance between repeated and novel activities, we can maintain a dynamic learning experience. While we can always make room for the children’s favorite songs and stories, we can make it a goal to introduce new topics to expand the children’s world.

Above all, we can make Circle Time a safe place to be, a place where children feel safe to say something and know that no one will tease them, a place where children can explore, learn and grow in a caring community.


Circle Time will be different across age groups in both the amount of time spent in the group and the complexity of activities. It is important that we know where children are in their development, for each age group has its definite patterns:

Infants can be brought together for a short period, a song or short game. The best activity with infants is a more individualized experience with an emphasis on repetition, such as Peek-a-Boo.

Toddlers can be engaged in Circle Time for a few minutes, sharing participatory activities such as a song or story.

Preschoolers might spend fifteen minutes in Circle Time, especially if there is a mix of listening to a story and then responding to some open-ended questions. Engage preschoolers in a music or movement activity or become the scribe as the group invents a story.

Kindergarten children may spend 25 minutes playing language games, singing, creating a graph, anticipating in a shared reading or writing activity, or planning a project or a study. All children can participate in activities such as taking apart toys to learn something about the science of wheels and motion.

The size of our group tells us a lot about what we can do in Circle Time. When we have a group of five instead of twenty, we can customize experiences to challenge children individually. If Circle Time is going to be with a larger group, we can make it our goal to have total participation. For example, if we are learning about rocks, there should be enough rocks for everyone to explore. Being prepared and having the materials at hand for this larger group will make Circle Time an active experience for everyone.


Concepts At Circle Time

Concepts At Circle Time:
The activities should be about introducing young children to colors, numbers, shapes, opposites, positions and classification. Each concept can be presented in at least four different ways allowing for reinforcement through meaningful repetition. Activities should be designed to last from five to eight minutes.

All activities are designed for a group of children sitting on the floor with their provider. The children need to be able to see you and any props you use.

Because pre schoolers like to be actively involved, these activities engage them in many ways. Often times you begin by displaying an intriguing prop of some kind – a suitcase, a gift box, and so on. Inside are learning props for the children to observe, hold, handle, or explore. Many activities use a flannel board with colorful props for children to observe and manipulate.

Language is very much a part of all the activities. It is by talking about concepts and sharing ideas that children turn their observations into new vocabulary and learn to communicate their knowledge to others.

In some activities you will be encouraged to pass an item around the circle for children to explore. To cut down on waiting time, I suggest that you pass out several identical or similar items at once. You can do this by staring the items with different children who are sitting at various parts of the circle.

Matching Colors:
Give each of your children a small bag containing short strips of construction paper in the colors they have been learning. Have the children sit down and arrange their paper strips nearby. Then invite one child to come to the front of the circle and reach into a bag containing longer strips of the same colors. Have the child remove a strip from the rainbow bag and show it to the group. Have the other children pick up their matching strips and hold them in the air while all sing the following song.

Can You Find?
Sung to “The Mulberry Bush”)
Can you find the color red,
The color red, the color red?
Can you find the color red,
And hold it up in the air?

Substitute the names of other colors for red.

Light Up The Colors:
Provide a flashlight for each child in your group. Dim the lights in the room. Have each child, in turn, name a color. For younger children, hold up an object and name the color. When your children hear a color name, have them shine their flashlights at anything in the room that is that color.

Hint: Encourage the children to shine their lights on something that no one else has found. This discourages “copying” the person who first found something of the named color.

Rainbow House:
Cut a large shape from felt to put on the flannel board. Also cut short strips from felt in a variety of colors. Tell your children a story about a large family who wanted to paint their house and couldn’t choose a color because they liked all the colors. Explain that each family member painted a part of the house their own favorite color. As you mention each color, invite a child to place a felt strip of that color on the house. End the story by explaining that the family called their home the “Rainbow House” because it was so many beautiful colors.


Learning the Alphabet

Learning the Alphabet

After many years of introducing Pre K students to the  26 letters and their sounds, I found that 3 simple principles helped all students learn this information quickly and easily.

Introduce the letters in a particular order
When introducing your child to the 26 letters and each letter’s sound(s), do not simply begin with A. Working in alphabetical order is not the most effective way for a child to learn the sounds made by each letter. I recommend the following order instead:

Letters of the Alphabet

B, M, F, D, S, P, V, T, L, Z, N, W, J, K, H, C, G, Y, R, A, O, I, U, E, Q, X

I suggest this order for the following reasons:
Easy sounds first. It is easiest for children to feel, hear, identify and produce sounds that are formed with the lips, teeth and forward tongue position (where the tongue touches the teeth). This is because children are able to use their sense of sight when they watch others forming the sound. Alternatively, sounds that are formed at the back of the mouth (such as the sounds made by the letters K, G, and Y) are hard for children to mimic as they cannot observe how your mouth and tongue are moving when you form the sound.
Complex letters last. Each vowel makes numerous sounds (or is even silent) depending on where in the word the vowel appears. Also, there are only slight differences between the sounds made by many of the vowels, such as the vowel sounds in the words “cat,” “cut” and “cot.” As a result, learning the individual sounds each vowel makes is a complicated skill. In fact, some speech pathologists believe that a child’s “ear” is not developed enough to distinguish vowel sounds until age 5 or 6. By introducing consonant sounds first, a child will have the opportunity to practice listening to sounds which are easier to identify before attempting to identify the more subtle sounds made by the different vowels.
No similar sounds one after another. After rearranging the letters in order of complexity from least complex to most complex, it is important to avoid introducing two letters around the same time that make similar sounds. For example, consider the letters P and B. Both letters make sounds (“puh” and “buh”) which are primarily formed by lips. For children still working to develop their auditory processing skills, it may be difficult to identify and differentiate between similar sounds when they are introduced shortly after each other.

Plan for the complex
Most children are satisfied with basic instruction about the sound(s) each letter makes. However, some children, particularly older children, may ask for additional clarification since they may have already noticed some of the confusing subtleties about the sounds some letters make. If your child is one that likes to ask follow-up questions, here is a list of explanations seasoned teachers typically provide to children to help answer their questions:
All vowels can be “long” or “short.” When a vowel is “long,” it sounds like the name of the letter. For example, the “long e” in “she” or the “long i” in “sight.” When a vowel is “short,” it makes its own sound. For example, the “short e” in “met” or the “short i” in “bit.”
The letter G can be “hard” or “soft.” When it is hard, it has its own sound, which you make without closing your teeth. An example of a “hard G” is found in “gate.” When it is “soft,” the letter G borrows the sound made by the letter J, which requires you to close your teeth slightly when forming the sound. An example of a “soft G” is found in “giraffe.”
The letter S can be “hard” or “soft.” When it is soft, it has its own sound. An example of a “soft S” is found in “sat.” When it is “hard,” the letter S borrows the sound made by the letter Z. An example of a “hard S” is found in “toes.”
The letter C can be “hard” or “soft.” In both cases, the letter C borrows its sound from other letters. When the letter C is “soft,” it borrows the sound made by the letter S. An example of a “soft C” is found in “race.” When the letter C is “hard,” it borrows the sound made by the letter K. An example of a “hard C” is found in “cat.”
The letter Q does not have its own sound. Instead, the letter Q makes the sound of a K and a W together, KW.
The letter X makes the sound of a K and an S squished together, KS.
The letter Y has three sounds. One sound is all its own and the other two sounds are borrowed from other letters. When the letter Y is in the beginning or middle of a word, it makes its own sound, as in the word “yellow.” When the letter Y is at the end of a word, it borrows the sound of a “long E,” as in the word “putty,” or a “long I,” as in the word “try.” The sound made by the letter Y is a very complicated concept for children to learn, which is why this letter is one of the last consonants I suggest introducing.

Let your child set the pace
Many parents often introduce their children to letters and their sound(s) in hopes of helping their children learn to read. For children who are developmentally ready to read, a parent’s efforts can lead to very positive results. However, when children are pushed to read before they are ready, they are set up to fail. Strong letter and word awareness skills must combine with strong phonemic awareness skills for a child to be developmentally capable of reading. If a child does not have strong skills in both of these areas, he will likely become frustrated by the process. When this happens, he runs the risk of beginning a self-fulfilling cycle of failure by struggling to match each letter with its sound(s) and incorrectly believing he is “bad at reading.”
Exposing your child to letters and their sounds at his own pace will give him an important opportunity to begin building confidence in his abilities. This confidence will lead to increased perseverance and, ultimately, an increased incidence of success when he is ready to begin reading. In this way, early practice with your child, when done at his own pace, will position him to begin a self-fulfilling cycle of success.

Tips for starting the new school year

    As a Parent, preschool and Pre-k teacher, I saw first-hand how children who started school prepared were able to thrive in the classroom, while children who started school with gaps in their development struggled. I also saw the amazing confidence of children who started school with a strong foundation of skills, and how that confidence fueled their success in the classroom. With the right information, you can ensure your child starts school with the skills necessary to succeed. When summer winds down, it’s time to get ready for a new school year. Buying notebooks and scoping out sales is the easy part. There are less tangible things you can do as well. Here are some Tips for starting the new school year.

Tips for the starting the new school year

1. Re-Establish School Routines

Use the last few weeks of summer to get into a school-day rhythm. “Have your child practice getting up and getting dressed at the same time every morning,” Start eating breakfast, lunch, and snacks around the times your child will eat when school is in session.

It’s also important to get your child used to leaving the house in the morning, so plan morning activities outside the house in the week or two before school.

2. Nurture Independence

Once the classroom door shuts, your child will need to manage a lot of things on his own. Get him ready for independence by talking ahead of time about responsibilities he’s old enough to shoulder. This might include organizing his school materials, writing down assignments, and bringing home homework.

3. Create a Launch Pad

“Parents and teachers should do whatever they can to facilitate a child being responsible,” l At home, you can designate a spot where school things like backpacks and lunch boxes always go to avoid last-minute scrambles in the morning. You might also have your child make a list of things to bring to school and post it by the front door.

4. Set Up a Time and Place for Homework

Head off daily battles by making homework part of your child’s everyday routine. Establish a time and a place for studying at home. “Even if it’s the kitchen table, it really helps if kids know that’s where they sit down and do homework, and that it happens at the same time every day,”. As much as possible, plan to make yourself available during homework time, especially with younger kids. You might be reading the paper or cooking dinner, but be around to check in on your child’s progress.

5. After-School Plans

School gets out before most working parents get home, so it’s important to figure out where your children will go, or who will be at home, in the afternoons. You might find an after-school program through the school itself, a local YMCA, or a Boys and Girls Club. If possible, try to arrange your schedule so you can be there when your child gets home during those first few days of school. It may help your child adjust to the new schedule and teachers. 

6. Make a Sick-Day Game Plan

Working parents also know the trials and tribulations of getting a call from the school nurse when they can’t get away from the office. “Most of our parents, because of the economy, are working,”. Before school begins, line up a trusted babysitter or group of parents that can pinch hit for each other when children get sick. And make sure you know the school’s policy. You may have to sign forms ahead of time listing people who have your permission to pick up your child.

7. Attend Orientations to Meet and Greet

Schools typically hold orientation and information sessions before the start of each academic year. These are good opportunities for you to meet the key players: your child’s teachers, school counselors, the principle, and most importantly, front desk staff. “The secretaries know everything and are the first people children see when they arrive at school every day,” .

8. Talk to the Teachers

Of course, teachers are the reason your child is there. When you talk to your child’s teachers, ask about their approach to homework. Some teachers assign homework so kids can practice new skills while others focus on the accuracy of the assignments they turn in. Ask for the dates of tests and large assignments so you can help your child plan accordingly. For instance, if you know a big test is coming up on Friday morning, you will know to keep things simple on Thursday evening.

9. Make it a Family Affair

Together, you and your child can plan for success in school. For instance, sit down with your child to create a routine chart. Ask your child what she wants to do first when she first gets home from school: play outside or do homework? Her answers go on the chart. “The more kids have ownership in creating a routine for themselves and setting expectations, the more likely they are to follow it,”.


I hope this website provides you with helpful information and great tips for bringing out the best in your child and helping him start school prepared to succeed!