Kindergarten is a huge milestone for both children and parents. It’s important to make sure our little ones are prepared for this big step, not only academically but also emotionally and socially. Kindergarten readiness goes beyond being familiar with the fundamentals of the alphabet and math. It also means  whether children are equipped with the necessary social, emotional, and behavioral skills needed to help them thrive in a classroom setting. So how can you tell if children are ready to start kindergarten? Here’s a list of signs to look for.

They can follow simple instructions

One of the most important things kids need to demonstrate before starting kindergarten is the ability to follow simple instructions. If children can listen and follow what is being asked, there’s a good chance that they’re ready to be in a classroom setting.

In order to help your little one practice following directions, give your child simple tasks to complete, such as picking up toys and putting them away. It’s also helpful to establish a routine in the morning that includes brushing teeth and getting dressed. If children can do these things independently, they’ll be in good shape to handle kindergarten expectations.

They can focus and pay attention

In kindergarten, kids are expected to sit still and listen to the teacher for extended periods of time. If children have trouble paying attention or tend to get distracted easily, they may not be ready for a classroom setting just yet.

To help prepare your child for this expectation, provide opportunities to practice focusing on a task. Have children complete puzzles, read stories, or do other activities that require their undivided attention. If they can focus on a task from start to finish, they are likely ready for the start of kindergarten.

They can take turns and share

In a classroom setting, kids are expected to take turns and share with peers. This ensures that all of the children have a chance to participate in the lesson and that everyone is treated fairly.

If your child tends to be self-centered or has difficulty sharing with others, some work may need to be done before kindergarten. Start by modeling how to take turns and share things. Demonstrate how good it can feel when we can cooperate with peers. Once children start to internalize and understand this concept, you can give them additional practice throughout playdates and other social interactions.

They can adjust to new environments

One of the biggest adjustments that comes with starting kindergarten is adapting to a new environment. This can be difficult for some children, especially if they are not used to being away from home.

If your child has difficulty coping with change or is prone to separation anxiety, now is the best time to help your little one overcome this challenge. Start by gradually exposing children to new places. Take them on trips to the grocery store or the park. Once they become more comfortable in a variety of settings, they’ll be better prepared for kindergarten.

They can work independently

In kindergarten, kids will often be given tasks to complete independently. If your child is not used to working alone, this request may present a struggle in this setting.

To help prepare children for this expectation, start by giving them tasks to complete at home, such as chores like sweeping the floor or folding laundry. You can also have them work on a project independently, like making a poster or writing a story. If they can complete these tasks without assistance, it’s a good sign that they are ready to start this academic journey.

They can make friends easily

Connecting with peers can be difficult for some kids, but it’s a necessary skill  when it comes to interacting with classmates in kindergarten. To help children develop social skills, provide them with opportunities to interact with other kids. Take them to the park, playground, or library. Consider signing them up for extracurricular activities, like soccer or dance class. It’s also a good idea to set up playdates. The more opportunities children have to interact with other kids, the easier it will be to make friends in kindergarten.

Deciding if your little one is ready to start kindergarten can be a daunting task. By observing these signs, you can get a better idea of whether or not your child is equipped with the skills needed for this exciting educational step.

Early Childhood University is so much more than child care, and we believe that every child should have access to a high-quality education. We offer a world-class curriculum that prepares children for success in school, and beyond. Learn more about our center by visiting our website.