8 Signs that Your Child Is Ready for Kindergarten

If your child is turning five between September and December, you may be confounded as to whether or not you should advance him or her onto kindergarten. Naturally, we want our kids to do well in school, but starting early and doing well are not always one and the same.

If your child’s school doesn’t have an early kinder or transitional, kindergarten program, here are a few benchmarks you might want to consider before enrolling your child. Children who do well in kindergarten are the ones who can do most or all of these basic things:

Take turns, share and manage disappointment. Unlike at home, children in kinder programs have to wait, get in line, trade and share. Usually kids get practice at home and in preschool, learning the important life skills of patience and empathy. It means they’ll be disappointed at times, but the sooner they get there, the sooner they are living life in real terms!


  1. Make decisions. Children get many opportunities in school to make choices: games, colors, and play partners, for example. Kids who have autonomy at home are able to utilize this skill to the school setting, thereby exerting confidence in making wise choices within the classroom setting.
  2. Make associations. Students who have the ability to relate outside events, topics and experiences they’ve had to what they are learning about in school will pick up concepts faster. The main way parents can support the development of making meaningful connections is by having responsive conversations with their children about what they are doing, experiencing and reading.
  3. Sustain attention. Children are expected to pay attention and listen within the classroom setting. Children who are accustomed to listening to books being read from start to finish and participating in conversations about the book are well prepared for Kindergarten. Parents can support the development of this skill by incorporating reading aloud into their regular routine. Family meals also provide an excellent opportunity to practice sitting still and participating in conversations by taking turns and listening until all participants are finished and ready to move on to the next activity.
  4. Self advocate. Children who are able to state their wants and needs in a clear and polite manner tend to transition more easily to school. Parents do their children a favor in the long term when they consistently model and expect good manners within the family and discourage whining and tantrums. “Yes, please” and “No, thank you” are phrases that serve children well as their worlds expand.
  5. Helping. Children are expected to collectively clean up their completed projects or activities, sharing the responsibility of keeping the classroom orderly. Kids who know how to help with chores at home will have an easier time adjusting to these expectations. Encourage this positive habit by showing you child that everyone has to pitch in and work together at home.
  6. Independently dress themselves. It’s true that the demand on kids at this age has never been higher, but kindergarten doesn’t expect them to manage their own things right away. When children can dress and undress themselves into their shoes and coats, they will put less pressure on the teacher. Time spent at home practicing putting on and taking off jackets, shoes, gloves and hats is time well spent. And most, schools insist that kids are potty trained, even if they still have the occasional accident. If your child is struggling with potty training, check out our helpful blog on the subject: (insert potty training blog link here)
  7. Children who are comfortable with books, stories and rhymes. This seems like common sense, but some families leave the reading and writing up to school entirely. The recommendation from the Department of Education is 15 minutes of reading a night1.
  8. Children also benefit from having had the opportunity at home to explore and to take risks and to build, make and create their own fantasies, artwork and ideas.


Remember that statistically speaking, kids on the cusp are more likely to do better if they are held back, simply because they have that extra time to mature and develop their classroom skills. So we should never feel like we are doing them a disservice by waiting. However, if your child has the jump on all these teacher-recommended criteria, go for it!



  1. https://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/reader/reader.pdf

About Susie Almaneih

Susie Almaneih spent several years during her young adulthood teaching children dance at her church group, as well as other cultural-based activities. Susie now spends as much time as she can giving back to the families in her community. Over the years, this love for community has evolved into a deeper love for delivering positive and creative content and awareness to families of all ages.

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