How to Prepare My Child for Kindergarten

We are thrilled to have Rachel Schwandt, former Kindergarten teacher and mom of 3, share her top ten tips for preparing your little one for the school year!

As a former Kindergarten teacher I am used to people asking me “How do I prepare my child for Kindergarten?” After teaching Kindergarten for 7 years and having a 4 year old who will go to a Transitional Kindergarten next school year, I have come up with a list of tips I think would be helpful for parents to help their child prepare for Kindergarten. 

10 Tips to Prepare For Kindergarten

  1. Read, read, read, and read again to your child!
    • Reading to your child is proven to help them with their vocabulary and print concept. While reading, you can talk about letters, words, sentences, numbers, etc.
    • Talk about what you read to work on comprehension.
    • Let them turn the pages.
    • Be goofy and try to read the book upside down or starting in the back so they know how to read a book correctly.
    • Discuss the illustrations.
    • Allow them to finish sentences or complete a rhyme.
  2. Work on problem solving skills
    • I know it can go against every instinct, but don’t always help them.
    • Give them the time and space to figure out things on their own.
      • If they can’t put a puzzle together, don’t run to help.
    • Encourage them to keep trying.
      • You will be amazed and so will they about what they can actually do.
      • In teacher terms we like to call this having a growth mindset- an “I can” attitude instead of “I can’t.”
  3. Teach them independence!
    • Your child should be able to clothe themselves.
      • This includes socks, shoes, coats, zippers, buttons. etc.
    • They should be able to use the bathroom independently.
      • This includes wiping and then pulling their pants and underwear back up. 
  4. Cut and Glue
    • You would be amazed at how many kids enter kindergarten with no clue how to use scissors or glue.
      • Let your child practice cutting scraps of paper holding scissors correctly.
      • A little song I used in the classroom was “Two fingers on the bottom and the thumb on the top. Open the mouth and go chop. chop, chop.”
    • Let them practice gluing with both a glue stick and dot glue.
      • This one is hard for me as a mom in my clean house but I just have to let it go and know that it will all be cleaned up later.
      • For dot glue I always used these 2 poems in the classroom, “dot, dot, but not a lot” or “A dot will do, a dot will do. more than that is too much glue.” 
  5. Teach them how to open lunch containers
    • If you are sending it in then they should be able to open it- apple sauce, ziplock bags, containers, etc. 
  6. Be able to recognize their written name
    • You can make this fun this summer by helping them write and recognize their name to prepare!
      • Have them write their name on a sticky or paper and read it each day in preparation to school beginning!
  7. Be able to write their name
    • They can write with all uppercase letters, half upper & half lowercase.
      • They will eventually learn how to write their name correctly.
  8. Help them with Peer Conflict Resolution
    • Give your child the opportunity to navigate social situations on their own.
      • Take them to the park, have play dates, etc. but let them be independent.
    • Obviously step in when needed but give them the space to figure it out.
      • Discuss the importance of forgiveness and kindness and provide examples.
    • Say sorry to your kids when you mess up.
      • This demonstrates that you are not perfect and everyone messes up.
      • The important thing is that you apologize. 
  9. Follow multiple step directions
    • Start by giving them simple tasks with basic directions and then slowly increase the amount of directions. 
  10. Just know they will be okay!
    • I know it is easier said than done but try not to worry!
    • Your child will learn!
    • Enjoy your time and relationship with them and try not to stress about what they do and don’t know.
    • Each kid learns at their own pace. 

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Jennifer and Laura

Parenting with truth and courage

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~Laura & Jennifer