School-age

10 things your kid should know how to do before kindergarten starts

But don't freak out if they don't!

Congratulations! Your little one is starting school in the fall. And even though you know this day has been coming for a while, it’s normal to feel a little anxious about whether they’re ready—especially with everything going on this year. Here’s a checklist of things most kids starting school should be able to do (and some things you may want to work on over the next few weeks.)

1. Get dressed

By now, kids should be able to pick out weather-appropriate clothes and put on shoes, boots, coats and other gear for going outside without assistance.

2. Drop their nap

Say bye-bye to that midday snooze. Your kids will need to have a solid sleep routine established so they don’t tire out by lunch.

3. Bathroom skills

While some classes have toilets in the room, kids will still need to know how to go to the washroom on their own—this includes knowing how to wipe their bum and properly wash their hands.

4. Name recognition

Can your kid spot their name? While most kindergarteners still aren’t able to read, they should be able to identify the letters of their name so they can find things like their cubby, artwork and personal belongings.

5. Lunchtime

When you’re shopping for lunch gear, make sure you pick containers your kid can open and close on their own. They should also be able to properly feed themselves with utensils.

6. Letters and numbers

More than just singing the ABCs, your kindergartener should recognize different letters and some simple words. They should be able to count and do basic math, like “I ate one of the five Cheerios, so now there are only four left.”

7. Shapes

Before kindergarten, kids should be able to identify basic shapes, like a circle, square, triangle and rectangle.

8. Fine motor skills

Your kids should do things like trace, colour and use kid-friendly scissors.

9. Story time

Can your kid sit still and pay attention when you read them a book? Do they understand the concept of stories having a beginning, middle and end? At this age, they should understand the proper way to hold a book and how to turn the pages—and that it’s the words that tell the story, not just the images.    

10. Independent play

Unlike with daycare, ratios are bigger in kindergarten, so kids should be able to play on their own without constant support and attention.


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