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How to prepare your child for kindergarten

YMCA's Early Learning Readiness Program offers tips to

YMCA's Early Learning Readiness Program offers tips to help parents and other caregivers prepare kids for kindergarten. (Credit: iStock)

Is your child headed to kindergarten next year? To help get him or her ready, check out this list of tips from YMCA's Early Learning Readiness Program.

1. Play games that encourage alphabet recognition - like alphabet go-fish, or play with the letter refrigerator magnets.

2. Help your child with number recognition and count items throughout the day, such as crackers, grapes, or carrots, out loud together.

3. Help children recognize their colors, and talk about the colors in their cookies, toys or clothes.

4. Develop shape recognition and motor skills when you practice writing, drawing or cutting out (child-safe scissors please) shapes like rectangles, squares or stars.

5. Talk about sounds that letters make and how they sound so they can begin to recognize words. Overemphasize the first sound in words to help your child hear the individual sounds.

6. Practice writing and drawing with colored pencils, crayons or markers for improved motor skills.

7. Read lots of stories and work up to longer books to develop good focus and attention skills.

8. Give children the opportunity to interact with other children in diverse settings and groups such as preschool, religious institutions, social groups or play dates.

9. Teach children how to express their feelings if they don't like something and role-play in different situations they might expect.

10. Teach children to write their names. You can make it fun with finger paint, sugar or salt in a pan, shaving cream or frosting.

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