RVA Parenting: Tips for heading back to elementary school

RVA Parenting Interview: Back to Elementary School

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It's just a matter of weeks now until the school buses are on the streets, and kids are back in the classrooms.

On Thursday, we kicked off our three part series on back to school tips from the experts. We talked to Tammy Milby, the director of reading in the University of Richmond's Department of Education. She is also a former kindergarten teacher.

Building academic readiness is the first step, says Milby.

"Lots of parents want to go buy workbooks or do isolated skill and drill type of things, like flash cards. But what I would recommend instead, is just everyday experiences," she added.

So she says to read with the child, enrich vocabulary by talking a lot, even everyday activities like going to the grocery store can be helpful. Counting oranges, for example, works on counting skills.

"Play with song and rhymes. Just silly chants and songs with your child can be really helpful," she adds.

Next, she says to develop social skills.

"Kindergarten is very structured these days," said Milby. "So, anything you can do to get ready for the structure of kindergarten can be really helpful. For example, you could take your child to story time at the library where they could be in a group setting.

And this is one you may not have thought of: give your kids multi-part instructions.

"A kindergarten teacher will typically give a lot of directions, so when a kid arrives in the morning, the teacher will say, 'Come in the classroom, put your backpack in the cubby, get out your folder, and then go to the carpet for the morning message.' So, that's a lot of multi-step directions.  So parents can start working on that at home.  Ask your child to do two or three things at once, so that they can get used to that structure that's coming in kindergarten."

There will be some emotional preparation as well. Milby says to make sure you go to orientation. Start reading books about back to school, and show excitement. If your child sense fear from you, he or she might feel that as well.

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