September 7, 2023

Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten

Written by Dr. Sandy Portko, Early Childhood Expertise

Karissa Monzo, Family Support Navigator
Picture of children together for preparing your child for kindergarten blog.
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Kindergarten is an exciting time for you and your child. Riding the bus, making new friends, and starting their education journey are all exciting things to look forward to! Most parents get nervous about whether their child is ready for the milestone and focus on helping their child practice their numbers and letters. While these are important, those are things that will be taught and practiced in school. The beginning of the school year is heavily focused on teaching your child how to be a student! Below are a few things that you can practice at home to help in preparing your child for kindergarten.

1. Make sure your child is comfortable being away from you for long periods of time.

If this is the first time they have been away from you, you may need to practice before school starts. Try leaving your kiddo for a long afternoon with someone you trust to take care of them. Allow them the opportunity to get used to not having you around. This will make those long days a bit easier! Practice quick goodbyes as well! Giving a quick hug, and reassurance that you will see them later, is better than sneaking away!

2. Your child should be fully potty trained and be able to manage all bathroom activities by themselves.

This includes removing whatever articles of clothing they need to, being able to wipe, flush, and wash their hands without help!

3. Have your child practice dressing themselves over the summer.

As stated above, they will need to be able to remove their clothing for the bathroom. They will also need to be able to get their winter clothing on themselves. Teachers are always there to help with a stubborn mitten, but when they have 20 kiddos coming at them for help, it’s hard to help them all. If your child still struggles with knowing their left from right, consider putting a colored ribbon on the right boot and mitten to help remind them which is which!

Tip for Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten: If your child can’t tie their shoes try sending them in slip on shoes, or shoes with Velcro to make it easier for them and for the teacher to change in and out of.

4. Your child will most likely have snack time a couple of times a day, and a lot of them will be bringing their lunch from home.

Make sure they can open all the packaging that their food comes in. If they have yogurt pouches, or anything with a screw top or peel-off lid have them practice opening these things at home. Have them practice opening their lunch box, and anything that may be in it. While there are usually lunch helpers roaming through the cafeteria, there are a lot more students than there are adults, and they might not get to them quickly enough to allow them the opportunity to eat that item.

5. Along with practicing opening their food, have your child practice putting their folder, and any other items they need to take back and forth into their bag.

Have them close the bag, and practice putting it on their shoulders. The more independently they can manage this the easier it will be for them at the start and end of each school day! They will also be more likely to bring items home, rather than leaving them in their locker!

6. Practice having your child sit “crisscross applesauce” and keeping their hands in their lap while watching a show or listening to a story.

This is generally how the kids are told to sit when that have circle time. Learning how to sit this way will ensure that they hear directions and will help them keep to their own space.

Have more questions about preparing your child for kindergarten? Contact our Family Support Navigators at navigation@familyfutures.org or reach out to us on our website.


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