Guide to Getting Your Child Ready for Kindergarten 

 Originally Written: August 25, 2009

By  Hanna Trafford

Last Updated on June 19, 2017 by support_b8i621vg

get-ready-for-kindergarten-monthI remember to this day what it was like to take my firstborn to his first day of kindergarten. And I also never forgot the words that Mrs. Fillingham – his kindergarten teacher said to me, as she took his hand to lead him into the classroom: “Take a good look mom and remember this day good. This is the day you start loosing him”. Little strong perhaps, but somehow I knew what she meant. My child will start on his road to independence – little by little through all the following years. And just to clear that up – that child is now 39 years old and I have never lost him!

But one thing is for sure – the apprehension and anxiety about the first day of school is very real and equally stressful for both of you. I hope the following tips and guide will help you!

Guide to Getting Your Child Ready for Kindergarten:

  • Take your child to visit the school and arrange to meet his teacher. Show him the cafeteria, library, playground, etc. – the more familiar he is, the easier it will be for him (and you).
  • Play school at home. Do some colouring, reading, play with blocks and have your child raise his hand when asking a question
  • Build the excitement for school by showing your excitement. Let your child know how much fun it will be, how much he will learn and how great it will be to make new friends. If you are scared or apprehensive, you child will be as well – if you are excited, he will be excited.
  • Teach your child how to eat from a lunch box by packing lunches for both of you the week before school starts
  • It is likely that the concept of laying on a plastic mat to take a nap will seem bizarre to him – another thing you can practice the week before school
  • Reading is a great exercise – read together – if only for 20 minutes each day. Reading together means that you read a story and have your child “read” back to you   – he can “read” the pictures
  • If your child is not used to being with a larger group of children participating in activities, give him some practice. Check your local library – most of them have children’s programs that will give him some practice.
  • Do not hang around the classroom all day – some parents do that – it just makes it harder on the child! Even if you see some tears on the first day – just leave and remind yourself that he will be so busy with activities and with discovering new things that the tears will fade away quickly. It will probably take you longer to dry your eyes!

checklist1Kindergarten Ready Checklist:

  • Listen to stories without interrupting
  • Recognize rhyming sounds
  • Pay attention for short periods of time to adult-directed tasks
  • Show understanding to general times of day
  • Cut with scissors
  • Trace basic shapes
  • Begin to share with others
  • Follow rules
  • Manage bathroom needs
  • Button shirts, pants,coats and zip up zippers
  • Separate from parents without being upset
  • Speak understandably in sentences of five to six words
  • Look at pictures and then tell stories
  • Identify some alphabet letters
  • Recognize some common sight words like “stop”
  • Sort similar objects by colour, size and shape
  • Count to ten

Note: Highlighted words have more detailed information below – don’t miss them!

cartoonclockReading a Clock

In these days of digital everything, your child may not see many conventional clocks, but telling time the “old way” is still a skill that is good for your child to master.


  • Colored construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Paper plate
  • Paper fastener
  • Crayon, pen, or marker


  1. Make a play clock for your child to practice telling time.
  2. Cut big and little hands out of colored construction paper and attach them to a paper plate with a paper fastener.
  3. Using a crayon, pen, or marker, number the clock appropriately.
  4. Your child can move the hands around the clock as she learns the basics of telling time.
  5. Most young children will not learn all the details of telling time–to the quarter hour, to the minute, and so on–but, if they know their numbers up to twelve, they can certainly learn to tell time on the hour and maybe even on the half hour.

871origPay Attention:

  • Get your child’s attention before giving directions.
  • Speak slowly and clearly without overexaggerating your speech.
  • Vary loudness to increase attention.
  • Give simple directions, and keep them brief.
  • In more complicated directions, use words like first, next, and finally.
  • Check that your child understands your directions by asking him to repeat or summarize them.
  • Encourage him to ask questions when he doesn’t understand your directions.
  • Try not to show frustration when your child misunderstands directions.

toddler-cryingSeparation Anxiety – Making it easier for Everyone

  • You cannot stay with your child every minute of every day – and even if you could, it would take care of everything. Separation anxiety stems from the conflict between your child’s urge for independence and the need for security. Balance between the two is the key to success but it is not an easy thing to do.
  • First – try not get annoyed when your child whines or clings – take it as a compliment. So bear the tears and stay calm if there is a tantrum. The fact that your child makes such a fuss when you leave shows that you are loved and needed.
  • Creating a balance between freedom and security is not an easy task – but remembering that independence springs from these two conditions makes it important. If you increase your child freedom but deny the sense of security, the chid, filled with anxiety will founder. It means – for example – that leaving your child alone in the room for extended periods of time thinking it will increase independence will not work.
  • On the other hand – of you provide your child with plenty of security but little freedome, your child will more than likely become extremely timid or very rebellious.
  • That is why you need to work on striving for a balance between the two.
  • Try to be there for your child whenever he needs you – you are the home base
  • Provide a safe environment for your child that allows him almost a free rein
  • When separation anxiety seems particularly painful for your child, pamper him to help him feel more secure. Little babying is fine as long as it doesn’t go on forever
  • And just in case it results in your child having trouble going to sleep. Or waking up with nightmares – give yourself a permission to sit beside him until he falls asleep. Do this for a week or so – the anxiety should wane and regular sleep routine should resume.

abc_A Box of ABC’s

Materials needed:

  • A shallow box, box top, or baking pan
  • Uncooked rice
  • Dark colored paper or paint (optional)

Young children like to use their sense of touch to learn new things. The following “hands-on” activity is a fun way to help kids aged 3 to 5 learn their letters — and numbers too. Kids will be able to feel the shape of these symbols as they draw them.

  • What to do:
  • For the best effect, paint the bottom of the box a dark color or tape down dark-colored paper.
  • Pour in a thin layer of rice. Shake the box lightly until the rice evenly covers the bottom.
  • Your child can begin by drawing lines in the rice.
  • If letters are a new concept, guide his hand to write the first letter of his name.
  • Shake the box and try it again!
  • Variation: Your child may draw pictures of any object, such as an apple, tree, or face. Keep the learning aspect by having him identify the letter that the picture starts with and writing it in the rice.

I hope this was helpful to you – and I am sure there is a lot more that could be added. Please send in your comments, suggestions and questions – this is all about sharing experiences and helping each other!


Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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