Dr. Anne Zachry

occupational therapist & child development specialist

How to Get Ready for Kindergarten

Parents frequently ask me what their child needs to do to get ready for kindergarten. I like to share this list of 25 “readiness” skills that kindergarten teachers have told me are important for a child to be successful in the kindergarten classroom.

Kindergarten Readiness Checklist

1)    Speaks in complete sentences

2)    Listens without interrupting

3)    Follows two-step directions

4)    Begins to share with others

5)    Is able to recognize authority

6)    Understands concepts such as “top,” “bottom,” “big,” “little,” “more,” “less”

7)    Able to follow basic rules

8)    Recognizes rhyming words

9)    Identifies some alphabet letters

10) Bathrooms independently

11) Button shirts, pants, coats, and zips up zippers

12) Can sort objects that are the same shape, color, or size

13) Recognizes and names at least 5 colors

14) Recognizes own first name in print

15) Recognizes letters in own first and last name

16) Begins to write some of the letters in own first name

17) Cuts with scissors

18) Trace basic shapes

19) Draws a line, circle, X and +

20) Works simple puzzles

21) Counts from 1 to 10 in correct order

22) Identifies the beginning sound of some words (C is for cat)

23) Runs, jumps, hops, throws, catches, and bounces a ball

24) Knows first and last name of parents

25) Adjust to new situations without parents being there

So get ready for kindergarten by practicing these skills with your preschooler and your little one will have a much smoother transition into school!

Got Parenting Anxiety?

How many times have you heard someone say that parenting is the most important job in the world? Actually, I totally agree with that statement! As a parent of three, I am constantly worried that I am going to screw up in a major way. To be honest, it brings tears to my eyes when I think that I am responsible for raising these three human beings, and I’ve got one shot, and one shot only. “Don’t blow it, don’t blow it, don’t blow it,” is constantly running through the back of my mind. It’s no wonder that I’m a fairly stressed out person. However, I do have a positive way of dealing with my stress. I read.

How I deal with parenting anxiety?

“What do I read?” you ask. I read parenting research! Zero to Three, Child Development, The Journal of Marriage and the Family, Pediatrics, The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, Journal of Pediatric Psychology, etc. I can’t think of a better way to tackle two birds with one stone. I can deal with the origins of my stress (parenting anxiety), and reading in general tends to reduce my stress. Ahhh… I’m feeling better already.

Parenting research

So what does this have to do with you, my dear friends? Well, not only do I stay current on all of the latest parenting research, I am a child development specialist and parenting expert, so I have a responsibility to share my knowledge! That is what this blog is all about. In future posts, I will address a variety of parenting topics, and I will share research-based information with you to help you better deal with your parenting dilemmas.  Basically I will provide parenting advice, parenting tips, summaries of great parenting articles…you name it! And as an added bonus, if you have parenting or child development questions, just click on the “contact me” button and fill out the form. I’ll address your question as soon as possible!


How to Get Baby To Sleep Through the Night

Sleeping Infant

Do you have problems with your baby sleeping through the night? Maybe he falls asleep just fine, but then he wakes up in the night and calls out for you. This can be even more of a problem when baby gets big enough to climb out of bed and comes to Mommy and Daddy’s room. If you are dealing with any of these situations, you may want to consider establishing a regular bedtime routine for your little one. Read on to discover how to get baby sleeping through the night.

Have a Routine

Research suggests that establishing a consistent bedtime routine for infants and toddlers helps a baby to fall asleep more quickly, and it even increases the duration of their sleep. Studies have found that toddlers who follow a bedtime routine each evening are less likely to call out to their parents or crawl out of the crib during the night. Interestingly, the mother’s mood also improved significantly once a regular bedtime routine was established. (Probably because she’s getting more sleep!)

Exactly why does this make a difference? Dr. Richard Ferber explains in his wonderful book, Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems, that babies need to fall asleep on their own, without being rocked or having a parent in the room. This is called a “sleep-onset” association. If baby associates sleep with one of these things, when she wakes in the night, she will need one of these to fall back asleep. Obviously, she will cry or call our for Mommy to come rock her back to sleep, and this cycle will repeat itself every time she wakes in the night.

Stick with it

Starting a bedtime routine may be difficult at first, especially if your child is used to being rocked to sleep. You’ll have to put your infant in the bed and he will have to learn to fall asleep on his own. This will probably mean crying himself to sleep. At first. I’ll admit, I had a very difficult time with this, and my husband had to help; however, after a couple of nights, the crying did not last as long, and it wasn’t long before everyone in the family was sleeping all night. If you are truly committed to getting your baby to sleep through the night, I recommend that you purchase Dr. Ferber’s Book.

A bedtime routine provides a smooth transition from an active day to the calmness of sleep. A basic routine such as putting on pajamas, brushing teeth (when baby is old enough), reading a story, and a goodnight kiss lets a child know what to expect every evening. An added bonus is that children usually love having their parent’s undivided attention! The time together before a child falls asleep is the perfect time to stay connected. So if you haven’t already started this wonderful habit, do it tonight!

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