The summer before my son Patrick started kindergarten, I was obsessed with teaching him how to print his name and count into the hundreds. Looking back, I should have spent as much time getting him ready for new friendships as I did for new words. Even though he was a well-liked preschooler, kindergarten was a social shock.
"Moms play matchmaker or nurture new friendships through playdates when their kids are in preschool," says Geoffrey Putt, Psy.D., a pediatric psychologist at Akron Children's Hospital, in Ohio. "But in kindergarten, it's up to your child to find his own pals." Help your child master the grade-school social scene by practicing these five skills before class is in session.