I thought there was a ton my kids needed to know before Kindergarten, turns out I was totally wrong!
My second little baby is off to Kindergarten this year. It will be my second and last time to walk into a classroom of any kind for the first time, nervous and emotional as hell.
If you scroll through Pinterest or do a quick Google search, you’re likely to see plenty of articles giving you an enormous list of things your kid needs to know before they enter Kindergarten.
There are printable checklists, workbooks to get them ready and resource after resource that makes your stomach turn because you think, oh my gosh my kid is nowhere near ready!
I want you to breathe a sigh of relief.
Because your kid doesn’t really NEED to know any of those things except for one.
Should they be able to tie their own shoe?
Nope. Kindergarten teachers are understanding that most cannot and besides, most of the time last year my son had some pretty sweet velcro Nike’s.
Should they be able to open their own juice box or Lunchable?
Well, it will save them some time for sure, but there are plenty of cafeteria helpers for the Kindergartners that will help them with opening things.
Should they need to be able to use scissors?
No. This is something they will learn for sure and if they know how before they start? Great.
Should they know how to hold a pencil the right way?
No again. I really struggled to help my little lefty hold his pencil the right way but it was difficult. I decided to just let him do it how he felt comfortable and through the year he slowly developed a much better, correct hold. He most certainly did not need this mastered before he started school.
Should they know their address and phone number?
Nope. If something happens and the school needs to call you they’re going to look it up in the directory. It’s something all kids should learn but is not at all necessary for starting Kindergarten.
Should they be able to identify letters?
No. I read an article saying kids need to be able to identify all lower and upper case letters. This is exactly what they will be learning in Kindergarten not before Kindergarten. Again, is it great if they do know their letters? Sure. Necessary? Not at all.
With all of these things, they are great skills to have but are in no way needed to begin.
Which brings us to the one thing you should be working on in preparation for Kindergarten:
Wiping your own butt.
Teachers have a lot of responsibilities, and wiping all 20 kids butts every time they potty shouldn’t be one of them. If you pick anything to spend your summer teaching, it’s butt wiping skills. (I have a great article right here with tips on teaching them how.) Plus, wiping kids butts is one of the easiest ways for your teacher
Would it be fantastic if your kid new all 101 ready for Kindergarten skills? Yes! These lists are great to use as goals and a wonderful source of information for things you can choose to work on.
But if you are panicking when you think of all the things your kid doesn’t know yet, don’t. They will still fit right in and have an awesome first year of school either way.
Liz is a just a mom trying to keep it real about how little she sleeps, how often she gets puked on and how much she loves them. You can find her here every day writing about real-mom moments.
You are so right! Especially about the butt-wiping part 🙂 My oldest son entered kindergarten ahead of the game, he was a quick learner and absorbed everything like a sponge. My youngest son is finishing up kindergarten this week, and I was so nervous when he started. Leading up to it, he had almost zero interest in anything that required a pencil…he didn’t really care to learn the alphabet…things like that. His teacher assured me that no matter how much or little they know when they start kindergarten, that most students end up in the same place academically by the end of the year. He has come such a long way, his handwriting is excellent, he’s reading at level D, he’s become a social butterfly, and he can’t wait for first grade! So yes, concentrate on good bathroom hygiene!
Diego Lopes says
Wow, kindergarden. That takes me back. Very thoughtful article on what it takes to send your kid to school for the first time.
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fnaf security breach says
Kindergarten, wow. I’m brought back by that. This article about what it takes to send your child to school for the first time is quite meaningful.
Isabel Toa says
My daughter is heading off to kindergarten next year so as you said yourself, I thought I was just going to be reading another post about alllll the things I need to do to prepare her. NOPE! Thanks for making me laugh out loud and ease my anxiety about what I actually need to focus on so she’s ready for her first day. So glad I found you!
logan jenkins says
When our children start to walk and then enter kindergarten, is the moment we know our children have grown, however, parents are always worried and concerned about their children.
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