Getting Ready for Kindergarten: 8 Skills Your Child Should Have
If your child is going to be four years old before the end of this September, you’re probably wondering if this is the year to start kindergarten.
Maybe you’re not sure if he’s ready or if it would be better to wait another year. Being aware of what kids need to know for kindergarten may help you make the decision. In most cases, with a bit of practice this summer, you can help your child develop the skills he’ll need to enroll this fall.
Consider the following eight essentials skills and qualities your child should have:
- Self Control: Your child can follow instructions and transition between activities without getting upset. He controls his temper and can be separated from you without crying.
- Eagerness to Learn: Your child shows curiosity and continues on a task or seeks help when there is a problem. He asks questions and enjoys receiving new information.
- Oral Language Skills: Your child understands conversations and simple directions. He can speak clearly enough to be understood without having to guess. He can also retell details from a story or experience.
- Independence: You child can go to the bathroom and wash his hands without assistance. He can take off his coat and hang it up, tie his shoes, and stick a straw in a juice box.
- Sharing: Your child has a basic understanding that two people can use the same thing at the same time. He also demonstrates an inclination toward compassion and empathy.
- Fine Motor Skills: Your child is able to color with crayons, pencils, and markers. He can cut with scissors and use glue bottles and paste.
- Basic Letter and Number Recognition: Your child can count to ten, identify letters by sight (upper and lower case is best). He can identify basic shapes and colors.
- Reading Readiness: Your child grasps the concept that words go from left to right, top to bottom of the page.
Does your child exceed in most areas but lack a few skills? To get your child ready for kindergarten, you should work with your child to help him bridge any skill gaps before enrolling. If he’s making progress and only has a few weaker areas, he may still be ready to enroll. It’s up to you as the parent to decide, but your child can also be a big help in making the decision.
Your Child’s Checklist
Go through the following kindergarten readiness checklist with your Pre-K child. He should be able to do most — if not all — of the following basic “survival” skills before starting kindergarten. Being able to perform each task on this list will help him stay safe, comfortable, and happy while he’s away from you. If he can perform each skill, he is probably ready for kindergarten.
- I can say my first and last name.
- I can recognize my own printed name.
- I know my address and phone number.
- I know my parent’s first and last names.
- I can write my first name.
- I can speak in a voice loud enough so people can hear me.
- I can take responsibility for my own actions.
- I can listen and sit quietly while others are talking.
- I know how to use a tissue and can ask for one.
- I can use the toilet, toilet paper, and the flusher.
- I know what to do with crayons, glue, and scissors.
- I can share things, take turns, and play by the rules.
Remember that kindergarten today is more rigorous than what you may have experienced as a child. There is a major focus on reading and writing, as well as basic math. If your child isn’t developmentally ready, he may fall behind and lose confidence and motivation. Waiting until he’s ready for kindergarten and has the proper skill set can help him to become a successful student.
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