5 Simple Ways to Transform Wasted Time into Learning Time With Your Kindergartner

Like you, I’m a busy parent.

I have a job, a kid in kindergarten, an older kid in 5th grade, and a DVR to catch up on, so it came as no surprise when the kindergarten curriculum began to kick my ass.

I suppose I wasn’t ready for what having two kids in school meant. To add insult to educational injury, my kindergartner went ahead and decided to make friends with the smart kids. No joke, these kids already knew how to read and perform double-digit math while my kid couldn’t recognize at least 4 letters of the alphabet, let alone know his letter sounds.

How did these kids get so smart? Did they have at least one parent solely dedicated to drilling sight words and addition concepts? Were these kids brainiacs? Was I not doing enough to invest in my kid’s education? Oh, the questions and self-doubt.

When BooBoo’s kindergarten teacher sent home a list of 50 sight words along with a note saying he’d need to recognize them before the end of the first trimester, I freaked the freak out! I didn’t have the time or the patience to carve out dedicated “learning time” with my kid. Besides, it wasn’t like he’d sit still long enough to participate anyway. So what was I, as a busy parent to do? The answer was get creative.

Take a look at 5 simple ways I found to transform wasted time into learning time with my kindergartner – after the jump!

  • Get app-y 1 of 5
    Get app-y
    If your family owns a tablet, consider going app crazy in the name of learning. Here you'll find BooBoo killing time in our parked car while we wait for his big brother to get out of school. Learning while he waits for 10 minutes a day equates to 50 minutes of dedicated learning time a week. I could never get him to sit still that long at home! For a list of great learning apps, click here!
  • Bring books 2 of 5
    Bring books
    Keep a backpack stashed in your car with a fresh rotation of new library books. Your child can flip through the books while you drive, wait at soccer practice, or sit in the grocery cart while you shop. The goal is to use otherwise wasted time to your child's learning advantage!
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Bring flashcards 3 of 5
    Bring flashcards
    A huge stack of flashcards is enough to turn any kid off. Stash flashcards in your car and only pull out 2-3 at a time to bring with you for quick reviews while waiting for school pick-up or in the pediatrician's waiting room. Your child can learn vast amounts of information in mini learning sessions! Can you believe that in just three weeks, my son learned nearly 50 sight words by utilizing otherwise wasted time? I was amazed!
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Keep a clipboard handy 4 of 5
    Keep a clipboard handy
    I like to keep a clipboard and "learn to write" paper handy in the car at all times. We can practice writing a few letters and numbers during downtime in a pinch!
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Learn to music 5 of 5
    Learn to music
    Confession: I'm not a fan of children's music, but I'll relinquish radio control in the name of learning through music on the way to Grandma's house and baseball practice!
    Image credit: Shutterstock

How (and when) do you work with your kindergartner?

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