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Getting Ready for Kindergarten: Checklist for Parents

By Huntington Learning Center

Kindergarten is an exciting time of learning and growth. It also sets the stage for academic success throughout elementary school. Some kindergarteners may struggle with the adjustment to longer days, being away from home, and being in a structured school setting. But there are some things parents can do over the summer to help make the transition to kindergarten as smooth as possible.  

What Parents Can Do to Prepare Their Child for Kindergarten

It’s important to keep in mind that all kids respond differently to entering kindergarten. Whether your child attended pre-school or has been home with a parent or caregiver, following these tips will help your student start kindergarten on the right foot.

  1. Help Master Kindergarten Readiness Skills: Each child develops at a unique pace, but there are certain social and academic skills that are accepted as standard for kindergarteners. Use the kindergarten readiness checklist below to determine which skills your child has already mastered and which you should spend time working on during the summer. To download a copy of our checklist, click here. Remember that children learn through play, so you can work on developing these skills during summer playtime.
  2. Read Together Every Day: Reading aloud to children helps them to develop language and listening skills that are critical for success in kindergarten. Reading with an adult also prepares children to recognize the written word. Set a designated time each day for story time and read a variety of books. If you haven’t taken your child to the library, now is a great time to start. Scholastic Parents also put together a very helpful list of ten books that get kids excited about kindergarten you can find here. It includes some of our favorite characters like Clifford and Pete the Cat! To learn more about how you can help your child develop reading habits, read this blog.
  3. Establish Strong Routines at Home: We understand having some flexibility in your schedule during the summer is nice, but setting routines at home will go a long way in getting your child ready for a kindergarten schedule. There are three key routines you can establish at home this summer:
    • Family Mealtime Routine – Family meals are a great time to reinforce healthy eating habits and language skills! Talk about your day, ask questions about what everyone did, and encourage your child to do the same.
    • Bedtime Routine – Get your child accustomed to a predictable order of nighttime activities (taking a bath, putting on pajamas, brushing teeth, and reading a story) and going to bedtime at a consistent time. Trust us, you’ll be grateful you put a routine in place now when school starts in the fall.
    • Morning Routine – Use the summer to set a morning routine that works for you and your child. Get up at the same time, get dressed, have breakfast together, and talk about your plans for the day.
  4. Create a Designated Workspace: Your kindergartener will likely get homework or projects sent home to complete. Find a place in your home to create a workspace where your child can complete these assignments. Make sure the area is free of clutter and distractions, and there is comfortable seating and plenty of working space. Let your child take part in creating the workspace unique to their preferences and personality. This is also a good time to stock up on some supplies your child will likely use for schoolwork such as pencils, crayons, scissors, glue, and other arts and crafts materials.
  5. Have Positive Conversations About Kindergarten: Talking to your child about what they can expect from kindergarten, as well as the wonderful things they will do and learn, can help ease the transition. You can also talk about what kindergarten was like for you to model feelings about the experience. Likely, your child has some questions about what kindergarten will be like. Encourage them to share those questions with you so can have open dialogue about any fears or concerns.
  6. Take Advantage of Orientation Sessions: Check your elementary school’s website to see if they are planning a kindergarten orientation or teacher meet-and-greet you can attend this summer. These events are great ways for your child to get a little taste of what kindergarten will be like. It can also help kids to feel more comfortable getting to know their teacher and some other students who will be in their class. These sessions are also very beneficial to parents because you’ll learn what to expect during the first few weeks of school, so you can help make the experience a success for your child!

Kindergarten students go through pivotal transformations as they are introduced to new subjects and learning experiences. Providing them with the tools they need to meet these challenges gives them the motivation, confidence, and skills to succeed in school and beyond.

If you feel your kindergartener is struggling with reading, writing, or math skills, Huntington Learning Center can help. To learn how our elementary school tutoring helps children build a strong learning foundation, click here.