How To Prepare Your Child For Kindergarten

Story times at local libraries are great for kindergarten preparedness. Tetra Images, Mike Kemp via Getty Images

 Transitioning from preschool or home to attending kindergarten is a big milestone — and change — for a child.  You love your child,and want that transition to be full of excitement and wonder, rather than stress, overwhelm, and fear.  Fortunately, most kindergarten-age children are eager to learn and excited about attending school.  You don't need to worry just yet if your child is anxious about kindergarten, though.


Whether your child is excited, nervous or a mixture of those feeling about kindergarten, there is plenty you  can do to help prepare for them for the transition to kindergarten.  

Attend Any Kindergarten Orientations, Visits, Roundups or Special Registrations 

If kindergarten is still months away, you can ask how and when the timing announcements will be made.  You will know when and where to get your kindergarten information.  

These events are usually advertised locally, and you may get notices in the mail. If you are unsure when your child's school will be holding any events for kindergartners, you can check with the school's website or even call the school to ask for dates and times.  Some schools will hold events before school lets out the school year before, so checking for approximate dates early can be smart. 

These events will give your child the chance to see the school, the classrooms, and the playground.

 Parents are often given important information about the school day routines, transportation, lunches and opportunities to get involved at the school.

Fine-Tune Any Toilet Habits That May Need Some Work

Your kindergartener is going off to a busy classroom full of other children.  If your child still likes a little extra assistance in the bathroom, you will want to teach them to be more independent before kindergarten starts.


Get A Medical Wellness Exam And A Vision Check

Let your pediatrician know that your child will be starting school and you want to make sure that your child's immunizations are up to date.  A Wellness check can also uncover any health issues that may need to be addressed.  Children learn better when they are feeling healthy.  If they are experiencing asthma, allergy symptoms, or other health related issues they will not be at their best for learning.  A wellness check can spot potential health problems along with developmental issues that could interfere with learning.

Getting your child's vision checked will also help make sure that they are able to see clearly, whether they are reading material close to them or looking at the teacher or whiteboard across a classroom.  Sometimes vision problems are only identified after a child has struggled for a few years in school with learning to read.  This time can be very hard on a child who tries their best but is unable to keep up with their classmates.  Checking your child's vision before they begin school, and then on a recommended schedule thereafter can prevent a host of learning struggles.

Talk About, Read About, and Even Watch To Learn About Kindergarten

Your child probably has lot of questions about what kindergarten will be like.

 Even if they aren't asking a lot of questions you can still fire up their curiosity and prepare them for the transition to kindergarten by providing a lot of information about kindergarten.  

Get children's books or movies from your local library about kindergarten.  Spend time together reading these books.  You can talk about what you read by answering questions your child asks or telling your child what you noticed is similar or different between kindergarten in the book and the kindergarten they will attend.

Talk About And Practice The Daily Kindergarten Routine

Once you have attended an orientation, you can talk to your child about the order of events they will have on school days when kindergarten begins.

 Starting with waking up, getting dressed for school, eating, what time they will leave home, how they will travel to school, when class starts, break times, etc.  

You can also practice the routine by waking up at the  time you would need to in order to arrive at kindergarten on time.  Have your child get dressed just as they would for school.  You can even do a few practice runs of driving or walking your child to the school if that is how they will be traveling to school. 

Get Your Child Some Social Practice Before Kindergarten

Kindergarten is a classroom setting with other children.  Your child will need to be able to follow instructions in a group setting and get along with the other children.  If your child has attended a preschool program, they already have these skills down. There is still plenty of opportunity to get these skills if your child did not go to preschool.  Take your child to children's story times at local libraries and bookstores, have your child learn to share by providing play opportunities with other children their own age, and follow the other steps in this article on social and developmental kindergarten readiness.

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