10 Things every Child Needs to Know Before Kindergarten

Everyone wants their children to be ready for what life throws at them, and setting them up for success starts at home.  Often parents don’t realize the skills they teach just by talking to them.  Children who are prepared for kindergarten will exhibit many skills that show they are ready to move on from the preschool level.  We are going to focus on 10 of those skills in four categories: Academic, Cognitive, Physical, and Social-Emotional. 

Academic skills are those basic skills in math, language, reading, and writing required for the kindergarten level. 

  1.       Math: Your child needs to be able to count objects correctly.  You can help them by counting objects around your home like how many apples are in the bowl, or how many toes are on their feet.  They also need to be able to recognize numbers 1-10.  You can use flashcards or a deck of cards.  If they can write some of their numbers you are ahead of the game.  They also need to be able to sort objects by size, shape, or color.  Have them put all the red cars in one pile and the blue ones in another.  
  2.       Reading and Writing: Your child should be able to recognize most of their letters and write their name with upper and lowercase letters using the proper pencil grip.   

Cognitive skills are those core skills that help your child think, learn, remember and pay attention. 

  1.       Reasoning uses logic to form ideas and problem solve.  This happens when a child can define the problem, think of possible solutions, and implement solutions until the problem is solved.  Sounds complex, doesn’t it?  It can be as simple as putting puzzles or blocks together or as complex as negotiating a contract as an adult.
  2.       Focus and attention help you stay on task despite irrelevant distractions and remember information while doing two things at once.   This involves listening and memory which enables you to recall information.  Practice this by giving your child 2 things to do.  When they master that, give them 3 things and so on.  Do this daily.  Some children need more practice than others.  When they are ready, introduce card games like Uno to make it fun.
  3.       Communication skills are the ability to express themselves verbally and nonverbally.  Children need to be able to share their problems or feelings and feel at ease to do so.  Talk, talk, talk…Ask your children questions.  Answer their questions even though you just answered #253 that day.  That is how they learn. 

Physical skills are often overlooked because they usually learn them quickly.

  1.       Independently use the bathroom and clean up after themselves.  By the time they are 5, this shouldn’t take up their time.
  2.       Use scissors, glue, paint, and pencil correctly.  This skill is easily mastered by being creative and making fun crafts that instill learning.

Social and emotional skills are learned by modeling positive behavior and having open conversations with your children.  This helps children be happier with a more positive attitude which helps them learn better and connect with others. 

  1.       Coping skills like thinking before reacting are so important to get along with others.  Give your children verbiage if they don’t know what to say. Play games to learn how to take turns, win, lose, share and negotiate.
  2.       Recognizing and managing their emotions is crucial.  Be responsive to their emotions by offering alternatives till they learn how to on their own. 
10.   Close relationships and empathy are essential for participating and following directions.  Show them how to care about friends and show interest in others’ emotions.  Leading by example is the most important thing you can do as a parent. 

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