Kindergarten Readiness. Getting your child ready for Kindergarten seems to be a very popular buzz term currently. As a parent and former teacher, I understand the fear that goes into sending your child to Kindergarten at the beginning of the year. The uncertainty of trusting your child to another adult in an unfamiliar setting is so nerve-wracking. Together, we can help set your child up for success with 8 practical skills you can practice leading up to the first day of school.
Before I share the 8 tips I have collected from my years in the classroom as well as fellow teachers, I do want to mention that most of the skills you will read about are not academic based. Yes, kindergarten is more focused on academics than it has been in the past. However, it is also a time that should be focused on play and developing social emotional skills with their peers and teachers. Setting the foundation for them with these 8 Kindergarten Readiness skills will help set them up for success this school year.
I also want to mention that even though we may not know what a typical school day will look like because of current events surrounding Covid-19, these skills are still applicable for a virtual school, brick and mortar, or homeschool setting. Make sure to scroll to the bottom of this article to sign up for your FREE Kindergarten Readiness Checklist!
Remember, together we can set your child up for success with these 8 Tips For Getting Your Child Kindergarten Ready:
1. Ability to Express Their Wants/Needs
One of the first things you can practice with your child is encouraging them to be comfortable talking to other adults to share what they need or want during the day. Teach them how to ask for help when a problem arises. Giving them the confidence to ask for help will be so important for them once school starts.
2. Maneuvering Their Clothes Independently
This may not seem like such an essential kindergarten readiness skill but it truly is! Students come to school with jackets, tricky shoes, zippers and buttons on pants galore and they need help and guidance for how to take them on and off on their own! There are many opportunities throughout the day in Kindergarten where children need to be responsible for their clothing. Like putting their jacket on or taking it off, zipping their jacket, pulling their pants on and off to use the bathroom and buttoning or snapping their pants. Shoe tying is also an important skill that would be helpful to have before Kindergarten starts.
3. Eating Snacks And Lunch Independently
With changes to school environments coming, we are unsure of what new food policies will look like. With that being said, it’s still so important to teach your child how to eat their snacks and lunch independently. Pack lunch with them and show them how to open, close, and safely store their food in their lunch bags.
4. Listen To A Story Without Interruption
Read alouds are an essential part of the Kindergarten day and it is such an important skills for children to be able to sit, listen, and interact with a story. A typical read aloud will last around 10 minutes so this is a skill that can easily be practiced at home with repeated read alouds with your child. Showing them how to wait to ask a question or comment about the book until the teacher pauses or until the story is complete.
5. Recognize Full Name & Write Their First Name
This is one of the few academic tips I have on this list! So much of Kindergarten is having your child recognize their name and write it. To set them up for success, practice having them recognize their first and last name. This can be on books, on their backpacks, on a name tag, etc. Then, have them practice writing their first name.
Something to add about writing their first name is that it is okay if it’s in all capital letters first. Let me say that again, CAPITAL LETTERS ARE OKAY! Developmentally capital letters are easier to form and may be the first way your child learns to write. Lowercase letters will come when your child is ready for them!
The ability for your child to use scissors independently is a major piece of kindergarten readiness. But, this skill doesn’t just come. Allow your child to have a lot of experiences where they are working their finger muscles and fine motor development.
There are a few key factors that will help your child learn to cut properly. First, make sure you are showing your child to keep their thumb on top while cutting. You can do this as playfully as drawing a smiley face on their thumb while they’re practicing! Also model how to properly sit while cutting and keep their other fingers safe. You can start practicing with scissors by offering play dough or modeling clay instead of paper to build their fine motor muscles. But the key is practice, practice, practice!
7. Letter Sounds and Letter Names
Having your child recognize letter names is important but also exposing and practicing letter sounds is an essential pre-reading skill. Exposing your child to both letter names and letter sounds will help set them up for success.
8. Teach Your Child Perseverence
There are going to be plenty of situations where your child may not get something the first time. They may lose a game or have to keep trying to master a skill over and over again. This can be very difficult for a young child. Empowering them before kindergarten starts with the tools to keep going when things get hard will help them so much! Teach them to say, “I can do hard things!” Or “I can’t do this…yet.” Those simple phrases will be so helpful for them to become their inner dialogue.
I hope you find these 8 skills for kindergarten readiness helpful in preparing your child for a successful and smooth transition to school!
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