Kindergarten is an exciting time in both your child's life and your own. Your child is beginning his school years and will be out of the home for several hours each weekday. August is Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten Month. This month-long event helps you focus on getting your child ready for the changes that lie ahead. Here are five ways you can prepare your child for kindergarten.

1. Encourage social interaction

During school, your child will have to interact with others. If they have little social experience, kindergarten may be a scary and frightening experience for them. Before school starts, find children your son or daughter's age and hold play dates. Teach your child how to properly interact with other individuals such as sharing, avoiding bossy behavior and taking turns.

It is also smart to schedule several play dates away from your home. Get your child used to being away from home and you for extended periods of time. Teach him how to respect other adults but make sure he understands stranger danger and how to stay safe.

2. Learn throughout the day

Make each day a learning experience. Help your child recognize numbers, colors and letters. You can go throughout the day teaching your child new things. Let him help you sort laundry by making piles of certain colored clothes. Or, make it a point to read together and point out letters or numbers. You can even work on numbers by asking him to count the number of cups sitting on the table. There are learning experiences all around.

3. Teach basic skills

Before your child heads off to kindergarten, make sure he knows basic skills such as getting dressed, using scissors and glue and writing his name. Knowing these skills will help your child feel more confident in a classroom setting. It will also help him increase his self-esteem. When children feel comfortable at school and feel like they are succeeding, they will enjoy school more and you won't be fighting an endless battle getting them there for the next 13 years.

4. Teach manners

Proper manners are something every child should know before heading off to school. Teach your child classroom manners such as raising his hand before speaking, not talking out of turn and not making fun of other students. Also, teach him proper manners when he interacts with other individuals such as letting others have a turn and not to bully others. When children practice and display proper manners, they have the foundation to be a much more well-behaved student.

5. Visit the school

Many children are frightened and nervous about the first day of kindergarten because they don't know what to expect. Before school starts, take your child to the school and show him around. Let him see the main areas of the school including the main office and the bathrooms. If possible, ask your child's teacher to take you on a tour. This will also help your child feel more comfortable with his teacher and more willing to say goodbye to you on that first day.

Kindergarten is an excellent learning experience but it can also be scary for children. By taking a few extra steps, you can prepare your child for his upcoming learning experiences and get him excited to start learning.

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