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  • Writer's pictureAshley

How to Get Your Child Ready for Kindergarten

How do I get my child ready for kindergarten?

This is a question that I get asked many times throughout the year. And while the answer varies from school to school and district to district, there are many skills that Kindergarten teachers wish kids had when they entered the school on the first day. And let’s face it, most of those skills are not academic!

There is a misconception that kids should know their letter names and sounds before entering kindergarten. But that truly isn't true for the majority of schools. In fact, that is what Kindergarten teachers teach throughout the beginning months of the school year.

While teachers everywhere, would love for your child to have had exposure to letters, sounds, numbers, and counting, I don’t know of any who expects kids to know all of these things fluently. In fact, the beginning of the year is quite a bit about routines and procedures and baseline assessing. That means there is little time or ability to differentiate activities for kids at different levels. So if your child does know all of their letters, they will still sit through the lesson. Work that is more personalized to their individual level probably won’t come until 2 months into the year.

So now that we know what your child does not need to know at the beginning of kindergarten, let's talk about what they should know.

Bathroom Skills-

This is so important! Kids entering kindergarten will need to know how to take care of their bathroom needs without assistance. This includes

  • unbuttoning and buttoning pants

  • wiping

  • flushing

  • washing their hands appropriately

  • asking to use the bathroom before it's an emergency.

Many classrooms, even for the littles, don’t have a bathroom inside the class, so kids will need to make it down the hallway without having an accident.

Food skills-

Can your child open the containers in their lunchbox? Can they put the straw in their juice pouch? Do they know how to put all of the containers back inside the lunchbox? Can they clean up the table after they are finished?

Cafeterias can be chaotic places with many kids and few adults. It is important that your kiddo knows how to open, eat, and clean up after themselves. It’s also a great idea to practice eating lunch from start to finish in a 30-minute time block at home so that the timing isn’t such an issue when they start school.

Clothing Skills -

Your incoming kindergartener is going to have to do a lot of things for themselves once they start school being able to take care of their own clothing and footwear is a key skill your child needs.

First, let’s discuss my biggest pet peeve. If your child cannot tie their own shoes, please do not send them to school in shoes that tie! There are several inexpensive options for no tie laces that can be placed on any set of sneakers or you can opt for slip-on shoes.

Other skills that your child will need include buttons, zippers, taking off and putting on socks and shoes, putting on and taking off sweaters, and putting on coats. I know that fall and cool weather seem far away but these skills are not only for cold weather!

Classroom skills -

Now let’s talk about the skills your child will need in the classroom that will help everyone have a better school experience. All children entering kindergarten should be able to

  • read and write their first name and tell their last name when asked. Check this blog for some fun practice ideas.

  • sit quietly for 5 minutes (This does take practice at home and at school.)

  • not talking over others

  • waiting to be called on

  • asking others to play

  • having coping skills for when they don’t get their way

Academic Skills -

Finally, let’s discuss academic skills. Here is a list of some of the things your child should have some exposure to:

  • letters and sounds

  • write and identify their names and the letters in their names

  • numbers and counting to 10

  • basic shapes and colors

  • proper scissors skills

Kindergarten is a huge change for many kids, especially those who did not attend preschool or even daycare. It is a complete mashup of different skills. Helping your child to be as prepared as possible will aid them in their transition and will help your child’s teacher. Most kindergarten teachers do not have assistance. It’s one adult and 22+ five-year-olds, some of which have never been to a school before, or heard the word no. Haha. It’s a crazy first few weeks!

The easiest and fastest way to tell you what your child needs to be ready for kindergarten is to teach your child to be a good classroom citizen first. The academics matter and they will be addressed, but your child’s teacher will start at the very beginning of all of the skills and teach them to everyone in the class.

If you are eager for the academic part of kindergarten, head over to this blog post and check out how you can help your child with phonics at home. Then head to download this freebie that includes some of the phonics resources your kiddo will need to practice with.

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