Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten?

 Your child’s fifth birthday is rapidly approaching, which means you know that it’s almost time for their formal schooling to begin. State and local standards may play the primary role in deciding when to enroll your little one in kindergarten. However, many parents want to know how they can tell if the child is truly ready for such a huge academic step.

Would you be better off to delay enrolling your child in kindergarten for a year, if state laws allow? You should find out how many of the important milestones below your child has mastered before you make a decision.

Potty Training

Preschool may accept a child who isn’t completely potty trained yet, but kindergarten is a different story. Your child should be able to consistently make it to the restroom on time without assistance. Teachers may be able to provide some help from time to time, but most will expect that your child can manage it independently.

Ability to Follow Directions

No one is expecting your child to be a model citizen who always follows the rules. That expectation would be unrealistic, no matter what age they happened to be. It’s more important that they demonstrate the ability to understand instructions through receptive communication. Of course, teaching your child the importance of consistent obedience is a much-appreciated classroom skill also.

Fine Motor Skills

Your child could be the very next Picasso with finesse in his fine motor skills like you’ve never seen before. Kindergarten doesn’t require much in this department though. Evaluate whether your child can perform simple tasks with their fine motor skills such as holding a pencil or cutting with scissors. They may need some assistance in strengthening these skills before they’re truly kindergarten-ready.

Communication Skills 

At the kindergarten age, children should have more than just clear communication skills. Other people should be able to clearly hear and understand their speech or communication method. In addition, they should also be able to tell stories and relate experiences to the people around them. This skill grants them the ability to express needs to their teachers as well as to interact with their new peers.

Social Skills

When’s the last time you noticed your child’s basic interactions with kids their own age? Their friendships won’t be perfect, but you should see some progress in the area of sharing and turn-taking. Social interactions are a huge component of kindergarten curriculum and experiences. Without these essential social skills, your child will have a difficult time adapting to the classroom experiences and making friends. Being behind may spark frustration for them, leading to a battle of wills when it’s time to go to school in the morning.

Observe your child’s regular interactions in the home and in the community to determine how well they meet these milestones. If you see that they struggle in several areas, it may be wise to wait a year to enroll them in kindergarten. Allowing your child to be fully ready and equipped for school is essential to setting them up for success and making school an enjoyable experience.

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