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Kindergarten Readiness: Essential Skills Checklist for Your Child

Cheerful cute learner of kindergarten with freckles and red hair
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The transition to kindergarten marks a thrilling and significant milestone in a child’s life. It’s a time bursting with new discoveries, learning experiences, and substantial personal growth. Kindergarten serves as the foundation for fundamental academic skills, laying the groundwork for future success in elementary school and beyond.

However, we often hear from concerned parents, asking us what exactly their child should know before embarking on this kindergarten journey. What skills should they have under their belt to make this transition smoother?

In this article, we provide you with a comprehensive, checklist-style guide of the essential skills your child needs to be kindergarten-ready. Let this be your handy cheat sheet for preparing your child for this significant milestone in their academic journey.

What is Kindergarten Readiness?

Kindergarten readiness refers to developing a number of skills in different areas like academic skills, physical skills, social skills, and a lot more. Kids learn some of these skills from teachings and training. Also, there are some skills that kids gain only when they are at a certain stage of their natural growth.

There is no strict definition of kindergarten readiness, as every kid develops at their own pace. However, educators and experts have put together some skills and traits that are necessary for kids to be successful in kindergarten.

Checklist of Kindergarten Readiness

Here is a checklist of developmental milestones and skills that are important for kindergarten readiness:

Cognitive skills

Learning cognitive skills are essential to achieving kindergarten readiness. Skills such as knowing basic shapes (square, circle, triangle), following simple instructions, recognizing certain letters and numbers, knowing the meaning of simple words and using them properly, counting numbers, solving simple problems, and so on.

Language skills

Language skills are an important part of kindergarten readiness. Children should be able to form complete sentences. They need to speak and understand conversations and instructions.

It is important to make sure that kids are able to express their needs and wants, understand two-step directions, and make comparisons. They should also be able to describe relationships between objects such as first or last, big or little, under or over, and so on.

Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are also necessary for kindergarten readiness. A child needs to be able to use a pencil or crayon to draw and write their own name, solve simple puzzles, etc. It’s also important for a kid to be able to cut with scissors and paste to achieve school readiness.

Gross motor skills

Kids should be able to run, jump, hop, climb stairs, throw and catch a ball, and ride a bike efficiently to achieve kindergarten readiness. Also, it is necessary for them to have good balance and coordination skills.

Social and emotional skills

In order to be ready for kindergarten, it is important that children have certain social and emotional skills. This includes being able to share and take turns with others, being able to express their feelings in words, following simple rules and routines, being patient, etc.

Self-care skills

Children should learn bathroom skills such as using the toilet and washing up on their own. They also need to learn to get dressed on their own with little or no help. Kids should remember their first name, last name, and age and can answer when asked.

If your child has most of these skills, then they are likely ready for kindergarten! If not, don’t worry – there’s still time to help your child develop the skills needed before starting school.

Talk to your child’s doctor or kindergarten teachers for advice on how to best support your child’s development.

How To Know About Your Child’s School Readiness

If you are unsure whether or not your child is ready for kindergarten, there are a few things you can do to assess their readiness. One option is to talk to your child’s doctor or another healthcare provider.

They can give you some guidance on what skills are developmentally appropriate for your child’s age and whether or not they seem to be on track.

Another option is to speak with your child’s kindergarten teacher.

They likely have a good sense of how your child is progressing and can share their observations with you. Finally, there are many online resources and assessments that can give you an idea of what skills are important for kindergarten readiness and how your child is doing in each area.

At the end of the day, the best way to know if your child is ready for kindergarten is to trust your instincts. If you feel like your child is not quite ready, that’s OK! You can always wait a year and re-assess.

There is no rush to start kindergarten and starting a bit later can sometimes be beneficial. If you have any concerns, be sure to talk to your child’s doctor or another trusted adult for guidance.

Benefits of Kindergarten Readiness For Better Academic Skills

There are many benefits to kindergarten readiness. A child who is prepared for kindergarten is more likely to do well in school and excel academically. They may also find it easier to make friends and adjust to the social aspects of school.

Kindergarten readiness skills go beyond simply being able to count or recite the alphabet. It’s important for children to be able to follow directions, pay attention, and share with others. They should also be able to sit still for short periods of time and transition between activities smoothly.

As your child approaches kindergarten age, you may be wondering what you can do to best prepare them for this big milestone. While every child is different, there are some general things that you can do to help your little one get ready for the transition from home to school.

One of the most important things you can do is to make sure your child is comfortable with the idea of going to school. Talk about what kindergarten will be like and answer any questions they may have. It can also be helpful to visit the school ahead of time so they can see where they will be spending their days.

It’s also important to work on some key skills that will help your child succeed in kindergarten. Things like being able to follow simple instructions, being able to sit still for short periods of time, and knowing how to share and take turns are all important skills to work on.

Of course, every child is different and will be ready for kindergarten at their own pace. But by starting to prepare early, you can help your child adjust to this new phase of their life and set them up for success.

Kindergarten Readiness Tips For Parents

Here are some tips for parents to help their children get ready for kindergarten:

Encourage pre-reading skills

You can help your child get ready for kindergarten by encouraging pre-reading skills at home. This can include things like reading aloud together, looking at books together, and talking about the stories you read.

You can also help your child learn letters and numbers by pointing them out in everyday life (e.g., on street signs, in books, etc.).

Practice counting and simple math

Counting is an important skill for kindergarten readiness. You can help your child practice counting at home by using everyday items like pieces of fruit, buttons, or cars.

You can also engage in simple counting games together or have your child help you with basic math tasks like adding up the grocery bill.

Encourage pretend play

Pretend play is a great way for children to work on their social and emotional skills. It’s also a lot of fun!

You can encourage pretend play at home by providing props and materials for your child to use. For example, you could set up a pretend store or have a tea party with stuffed animals.

Help your child practice self-care skills

You can help your child get ready for kindergarten by practicing self-care skills at home. This includes things like using the toilet on their own, washing their hands, and getting dressed by themselves.

You can also help your child remember their full name, address, and phone number in case they need to contact you while at school.

Talk about feelings and emotions

It’s important for children to be able to understand and express their emotions. You can help your child with this by talking about your own emotions and helping them label their feelings.

You can also encourage emotional expression through art, music, or dance.

Teach your child about stranger safety

It’s important for children to know what to do if they encounter a stranger. You can teach your child about stranger safety by role-playing different scenarios with them.

For example, you could pretend to be a stranger and have your child tell you how they would respond. You can also talk about when it’s OK to accept gifts from strangers and when it’s not.

Create a positive school routine

You can help your child feel more comfortable and confident about starting kindergarten by creating a positive school routine at home.

This includes things like packing their backpack the night before, setting out their clothes for the next day, and eating a healthy breakfast.

You can also help your child practice things like sitting still during story time or raising their hand to ask a question.

Read school-related books together

There are many great books about starting kindergarten that can help ease your child’s anxiety and excitement about going to school.

Reading these books together is a great way to start conversations about what to expect on the first day of school and throughout the year. Some popular titles include “The Night Before Kindergarten” by Natasha Wing and “First Day Jitters” by Julie Danneberg.

Visit the school ahead of time

If possible, take a tour of your child’s kindergarten classroom and meet the teacher before the first day of school. This will help your child feel more comfortable about their new surroundings and give them a chance to ask any questions they may have.

Talk about going to the kindergarten

It’s important to talk with your child about starting kindergarten and what it will be like. This can help ease any fears or concerns they may have.

You can talk about things like the new friends they’ll make, the fun activities they’ll do, and how much you’ll miss them during the day. Try to keep the conversation positive and focus on all the great things that kindergarten has to offer!

You can also share your own positive experiences about going to school and what you loved most about it.


Starting kindergarten is a big milestone for both children and their parents. By following these tips, you can help your child feel prepared and excited for this new chapter in their life!

If you’re not sure if your child is ready for kindergarten, there are many resources available, including online readiness tools and a checklist. You can also talk to your child’s doctor or preschool teacher for more guidance.

The most important thing is to make sure your child is comfortable and confident with the idea of starting kindergarten. With a little preparation, they’re sure to have a great first year of school!

If you are looking for sound guidance on how to make your child ready for kindergarten, sign up to our School Readiness eBook.


Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten? Prepare Them With These 20 Skills. (2022). Retrieved 2 June 2022, from

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These are the REAL skills kids need for Kindergarten. (2022). Retrieved 2 June 2022, from

Is My Child Ready For Kindergarten – Kindergarten Assessment Checklist. (2022). Retrieved 2 June 2022, from

Kindergarten Readiness: Everything You Need to Know. (2022). Retrieved 2 June 2022, from

Kindergarten Readiness Gives Kids an Advantage Through High School-And Here’s How to Promote It At Home. (2022). Retrieved 2 June 2022, from

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