LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.

Today’s topic: 6 skills to teach your kid before they enter kindergarten.

The first day of school is now just a few weeks away, and so over the next month, we’ll be looking into the best ways to prepare, starting with our youngest students.

Kindergarten is no longer a daycare like it was decades ago when kids basically just colored and played. Nowadays, it’s much more academically involved, with child development experts saying kindergarten is one of the most important times of a child’s life. It provides kids an opportunity to learn and practice social, emotional, problem-solving, and study skills they will use throughout their entire life. So here are 6 things parents should make sure to introduce or have their kids master by the time class begins:

*Be able to recognize their name. Your child’s name will be on folders, tables, and all over their kindergarten classroom, so being able to self-identify is a skill that’s needed.

*Practice sitting still. The general rule of thumb is to double a child’s age for the number of minutes they should be able to sit still. So, 5-year-olds should be able to sit quietly and still for 10-minutes.

*Teach them how to socialize and share. It’s important you encourage your child to play with others and show respect.

The next three skills are more academic and include:

*Naming all the Letters of the Alphabet.

*Count and Recognize Numbers to 10.

*Name and Recognize shapes and colors.

Child development experts also say family support is the most important factor in making your child feel safe and ready for school. Talk with them about what to expect, provide encouragement, and make sure they have plenty of play time scheduled as well.