When first graders start school, they are often full of excitement and enthusiasm for learning and making friends.
It’s a significant milestone, and they have to use the skills they began developing in kindergarten and pre-school in more mature ways.
First graders are talkative, energetic and full of questions.
This is a time when they lose their teeth, grow physically and experience some emotional highs and lows.
They don’t want to miss a thing, and their enthusiasm can be exhausting but infectious.
Parents may want to know how they can best support their children in the first grade.
The answer is simple.
You need to be involved and aware of what they’re experiencing.
They may be starting to read, but you need to read with them.
They may be making new friends, but they still need reassurance from you.
First graders are happiest when their parents are not just doing things for them but doing things with them.
Here’s the Things All First Graders Have in Common and how you can make the most of it.
They love to learn
They really want to learn at this stage, ask endless questions and soak up information like a sponge.
At the same time, they are being asked to work with the more difficult material and have to learn new skills.
They are learning basic math concepts, language skills and being exposed to the new worlds of science and social studies.
This can make even children who are generally confident unsure of themselves, and they need constant encouragement and reassurance.
Their language skills are developing at a rapid rate, and they are learning about 10 new words every day.
They are better at tracking from left to right than younger children, so it’s the right age for them to start reading.
Heather Layton of Ways to Help your Child Prepare for School says that one of the best ways to help your first grader is to communicate with the teacher and know what is happening in class and how your child is progressing.
This doesn’t mean continually intruding but finding out what supplemental activities you can do at home to reinforce what is being done in class.
What you can do:
Your talkative first grader will thrive if you talk and read with him or her as often as possible.
Reading is an essential skill for learning in all subjects and reading well leads to success in school and life.
As a parent, you can explore the joy of reading with your child and help him or her to become a confident reader.
They need structure
As your first grader now has school schedules to deal with, there’s less time for play and more need for focused attention.
Fortunately, children of six or seven still respond well to routine.
They learn best when they feel emotionally secure, and structure helps to give them security.
Things All First Graders Have in Common is they tend to be impetuous and full of energy.
If they’re left to their own devices without any routine, they are likely to use up all their energy early on and run out of steam for the rest of the day.
Their attention span at this stage can range from 6-20 minutes, depending on their gender.
They tend to overestimate their capabilities and may come up with grandiose plans as their imaginations are very active.
You need to bring them gently down to earth and break up any activities you do with them into short, doable chunks.
What you can do:
Make sure they get enough sleep at night and make their early morning and bedtime routine as predictable as possible.
First graders also thrive on a physical challenge so they should be given the opportunity to run around and play freely outside for some time every day.
They love to play
First graders love to play and use their imaginations.
At this stage, they are beginning to engage in more elaborate, dramatic play.
They are taking baby steps into a bigger world that’s more difficult to understand, and they are often more comfortable gaining knowledge through play and exploration.
You are more likely to find out what they’re feeling and get through to them while you’re having fun and playing with them than by trying to sit down for a heart-to-heart conversation.
They more easily express themselves through play because they are not yet capable of expressing their emotions in words.
What you can do:
Provide plenty of opportunities for them to play and take the time to play with them on their level.
If you play with them, you will not only enjoy it because of your child’s unfettered imagination and how he or she expresses pleasure but because it can provide many opportunities to reinforce values and morals.
Children at this age are often very competitive when playing games and they can learn many lessons through playing games.
They want attention
First graders crave your attention because it shows them they matter.
They will often shout “Look at me!” when they’re in the midst of a bunch of children.
This is certainly one of the Things All First Graders Have in Common.
They may even do certain naughty things because it’s better to have your attention than being ignored.
Sometimes it may be tough to give them enough time and attention, but when you do so, you will experience the benefits.
You will be planting seeds of self-worth and the knowledge that they are valued which will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives.
What you can do:
The best way to handle this is to give them your undivided attention freely and as often as possible.
Give your first grader help whenever it’s needed and offers encouragement and reassurance regularly.
Being involved and aware may take time and effort, but it will enable you to find ways to help your first grader to thrive easily.
Going into first grade is a big step, and you can make the transition smoother for your child in many ways.
Read together with your child and follow up on what the teacher has done in class.
Create a structure for each day that helps your child to feel more secure and ready to learn new things.
Give your child the opportunity for unstructured play outside of school hours and take time to play together as it will create a stronger bond and give you the chance to catch up with what’s going on in your child’s life.
Always give encouragement and reassurance, and your child will have the self-confidence to tackle anything.
Warren’s lifestyle is full of hiking adventures. When he’s not busy with his guitar or enjoying the sunny day outside, he excels at blogging skills and scrolls through social media. You can meet him on Twitter and Facebook.