11 Things You Can Do This Summer to Get Your Child Ready for Kindergarten

A young mother helping her son tie his shoes
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In just a few weeks, families across the country will be getting ready for a new school year. For parents with children who will be starting kindergarten, this is an exciting and somewhat intimidating prospect. Not only does kindergarten mark the end of a child-rearing era and signify the natural progression from dependency to self-sufficiency, kindergarten is the beginning of a child’s formal education and lays the foundation for the 12 or more years to follow. Some families can’t wait for their little ones to start school, others are reluctant. One thing is sure: Kindergarten is a new adventure.

Kindergarten and early elementary teachers recommend children have a set of readiness skills to make the transition from home to school as smooth as possible. Here are 11 you can work on this summer:

1 | Practice tying shoes

If you send your child to school wearing shoes with laces, it is expected that at some point during the day they will need to be retied. Teaching your kid to tie shoes saves the teacher from doing it and will set a great example for other kids. That said, many five-year-olds haven’t developed the fine motor dexterity or the patience to master shoelaces, and fortunately for all involved, Velcro exists.

2 | Practice buttoning, zipping, and snapping

Your kindergartner will be expected to put on her own clothes for outdoor recess and to manage unfastening and refastening her pants to use the bathroom. While teachers and other adults are happy to help with gear – especially at the beginning of the year – it takes time away from other activities. In colder climates, snow pants, boots, hats, mittens, and winter coats add an extra 15 minutes to an already busy day of fun, so the faster kids are at this, the better.

3 | Bathroom independence is essential

Most schools require children to be capable of using the bathroom facilities in an age-appropriate way, meaning they Go, Flush, and Wash without assistance. While elementary schools are well-equipped to handle…

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