Kindergarten?! Already? Where did your sweet baby go? Although it’s a harsh reality for parents to accept, kids will be eager to meet friends and learn new things at school. Preparing for kindergarten before they start will help them feel more confident and ready to dive in.
What Age Should Kids Start Kindergarten?
It can be tough to know when it’s time to let your little one venture into a classroom. The thought of your child being in the care of someone else might be stressful for you, but they will be ready for the change. Most professionals recommend that kids should start kindergarten at the age of five or six.
When your child starts school will likely depend on their birthday. However, it’s up to you as a parent to decide if it’s time to start reviewing the kindergarten readiness checklist. By five or six years old, most kids have some skills in their back pocket from preschool or daycare and, of course, their wonderful parents.
Five might seem young to send your child out into the world, but the earlier they start learning, the better! Most children have developed their fine motor skills by this age, so they already have all the basics down. Kindergarten will equip them with the information they need to become more independent, confident, and social.
What Skills Will They Need for Kindergarten?
If you take anything from this blog, let it be that you absolutely shouldn’t stress if your child doesn’t have all the skills on our list. Every kid grows and learns at a different pace, and that’s totally okay. If they lack in some areas, kindergarten will be the perfect opportunity for them to learn.
Essential Skills for Kindergarten Preparedness
- language and reading skills
- math skills
- self-care, independence, and social skills
Language and Reading Skills on the Kindergarten Readiness Checklist
One of the most significant parts of kindergarten is developing reading and writing skills. It would be awesome if they came equipped with a few of their own before they start school.
Language and Reading Skills Kindergarten Readiness Checklist
- identify letters of the alphabet
- speak using complete sentences
- recognize common sight words, like “stop”
- identify rhyming words
- recognize and spell their name
When you’re preparing for kindergarten, see if your child knows these basics. An excellent way to assess this is by singing the alphabet with them. You can also start preparing for kindergarten by having them focus on a new letter each day. The majority of children probably won’t be able to read an entire book on their own before starting school, but reading with them will help them begin recognizing words.
Math Skills Your Child Should Have
Math is hard, even for adults! So don’t stress when you see that your child will need some math skills. Right now, they just need to know the basics about shapes and counting.
Math Kindergarten Readiness Checklist
- count and recognize numbers one to ten
- classify objects by shape, size, and quantity
- recognize and name basic shapes
See, mom and dad, that’s not so bad! You can easily start implementing simple practices to prepare for kindergarten now. For example, start pointing out shapes or asking them to count all their favorite stuffed animals. If they need some extra help, check out a children’s math book.
Self-Care and Social Skills on the Kindergarten Readiness Checklist
Self-care and social skills are the most important thing to focus on when preparing for kindergarten. They can learn reading and math once they’re in school, but they should feel comfortable doing things on their own first.
Self-Care and Independence Skills Kindergarten Readiness Checklist
- use art supplies like glue, kid-safe scissors, and paint
- play on their own or focus on one activity with a friend for up to ten minutes
- manage bathroom needs
- get dressed
- clean up after self
- separate from parents easily
The good thing about these skills is that they’re probably tasks you’ve already been working on at home. If they’re not quite there yet, it could help if you started giving them a bit more independence. If you inform them and give them the proper tools, they’ll be able to do these things all by themselves in no time.
Ways to Prepare for Kindergarten at Home
Of course, ordering a math or spelling book online is a great way to help your kiddo. But you can do things right at home to cover all the items on the kindergarten readiness checklist. Some things you can do to prepare for kindergarten with your child are:
- help them develop independence at home
- teach responsibility
- develop and follow routines
- engage in meaningful literacy activities
- acknowledge their feelings
Helping Your Child Develop Independence
Even though they’re little, kids like the feeling of being able to do things on their own. As parents, it’s an instinct to want to coddle them and cater to their every need, but that won’t help them grow.
At the dinner table, add a serving spoon in the salad bowl and let them scoop their own instead of preparing a plate for them. You can also let kids clear their own dishes when they’ve finished eating.
Teaching Responsibility to Prepare for Kindergarten
Little ones might not understand the concept of being responsible quite yet, but taking care of some of their own things can help them grasp it. When they get home from a sleepover at grandma’s, let them unpack their bag and put everything away. The next time you hear, “Mommy, can you refill my water bottle?” encourage them to fill it themselves.
Developing and Following Routines for Kids
Getting into a routine can be challenging, especially when you have children. Life gets in the way sometimes but try your best to keep a few parts of their day consistent. For example, encourage them to go to bed and wake up around the same time every night (you’ll thank us later when you have more time in the evening for yourself). Other simple routines that you’re probably already doing are getting them to brush their teeth and dress themselves every morning.
Engaging in Mindful Literacy Activities to Prepare for Kindergarten
The best way to help children learn reading and writing is by presenting them in practical ways. You can easily do this by including them when it’s time to write their birthday thank-you notes and helping them sign their own name. Start spelling out your grocery list for them when you make it, too.
Naturally, reading to your child each day will increase their literacy, too. They’ll develop a love for reading that will grow throughout life. Reading also increases their speaking vocabulary and comfort with writing.
The Importance of Acknowledging your Child’s Feelings
Preparing for kindergarten can be scary for kids (probably not as frightening as it is for parents, but still). During this journey through kindergarten readiness checklists, counting, and reading, make sure they’re doing okay with it all. If they get frustrated or upset sometimes, let them know that their feelings are valid and it’s okay.
While kindergarten readiness checklists can vary from state to state, we hope our list helps you feel ready to begin kindergarten prep. Remember to be patient with yourself and your kiddo, and don’t worry if they don’t have all the skills mastered by their first day.