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Ready, Set, Here Comes Kindergarten! 23 Ideas to Prepare NOW

by Dr. Heather Wittenberg | February 20, 2013 | Kindergarten Readiness

Kindergarten Readiness TipsIs your child ready to start Kindergarten this fall? As a parent, I know it’s difficult to imagine your little one sitting in a “big kid” classroom in just a few months. Believe me, though, you’ll be amazed at the growth your child will experience before then. Here are my ideas for helping your almost-big-kid along the way, to ensure Kindergarten will be a fun learning experience!

Friends and Feelings: Social/Emotional Boosters

  1. Help him be comfortable in the care of other trustworthy adults.
  2. Encourage her to verbalize her feelings and problems, and to ask for help when needed.
  3. Give a shy child more opportunities to socialize. Get down on his level and help him negotiate social situations.
  4. Boost emotional skills like waiting patiently, asking for a turn, and saying “please” and “thank you.” Tea parties are great for this.
  5. Practice making friends by role-playing. “Hello. My name is Sam. What’s your name? Do you want to play with me?”
  6. Practice how to ask the teacher for help, what to do if your little one doesn’t feel well at school and how to ask to go to the bathroom.
  7. Encourage lots of pretend play and join in occasionally.
  8. Play “Simon Says” and “Red Light/Green Light” to help with following directions and controlling impulses.

You’ve Got Class: Classroom Skills

  1. Integrate clean-up time into every activity during the day.
  2. Practice cutting with children’s scissors.
  3. Use lots of play-dough to build the hand strength necessary for writing.
  4. Practice holding pencils and crayons correctly.
  5. Tour your child’s new school several times. See what drop off, pick up, lunchtime, work time and recess look like. Find (and try out) the bathrooms – always a key issue for new Kindergarteners!

Learning Boosters: Cognitive Skills

  1. Count objects around the house together and practice counting to 20 during car rides.
  2. Do lots of reading together. Have your child hold the book, turn the page and help you run your finger underneath the words.
  3. After reading together, ask “what happened next?” questions to reinforce comprehension and memory.
  4. Encourage lots of daily outdoor play to build endurance, confidence and to blow off steam.
  5. Help her write her first name and to say her full name.
  6. Learn opposites like big vs. little.
  7. Learn about prepositions – place words – by playing Hide and Seek together. Ask your child to describe where you were hiding.
  8. Introduce the idea that letters make their own special sounds.
  9. Have your child follow two-step directions and play the “fetching game” with three or more objects.
  10. Help your child name colors of fun and familiar objects.


Learning in a fun and natural way works best. Don’t “drill” your child. And always, send the message that learning is FUN!

Do you have a little one getting ready for kindergarten this fall? Share how you’re preparing!