How To Prepare Your Child For School

It’s scary when you realize your child is getting ready to start school. It just doesn’t feel right, but you knew this time was inevitable. But before that school bus rolls up for your kid’s first day of school, there are many things you can do to make sure they are prepared to enter the classroom.

Is your child getting ready for preschool or kindergarten? These tips will tell you how to prepare your child for school. It's everything they need to know.

How To Prepare Your Child For School

A) Classroom Preparedness

From birth to age five is a prime time for your child to learn, as this is when they are most likely to absorb information given to them. Preparing them with the skills necessary to make it in kindergarten will help the teachers by giving them a foundation to build up from.

Going into kindergarten, children should at least have a start in learning in:

1) Reading: Reading to your child everyday is one major step in helping them associate sounds with words, as is singing the alphabet song to them and associating the letters with toys or recognizable objects. As the child gets older, teach them to write the letters. Also make sure they know how to spell their name before going into the classroom. Once they are ready to start learning basic words, these sight word games are fun.

2) Colors & Shapes: There are many interactive preschool games your child can play to help them learn about a variety of topics. For colors and shapes, sit down with your child and have them draw and color. Draw some shapes for them, and have them identify the shape and color. Also point out everyday objects and ask them what color it is. Consistency is the key to helping them remember these basic tools.

3) Critical Thinking: When taking your child out, ask them questions about their surroundings. Take them to museums, the zoo, and other public places and have them talk about it. Let them run and explore on their own terms so they can see what they want. Ask them how the things they see makes them feel.

B) Social Preparedness

Children need to understand basic social skills before going into the classroom. They need these in order to get along with other children, and to follow the rules as they’re told.

1) Rules: Stay consistent with the household rules, and be consistent with the punishments as well. If your child does break one of the rules, ask them if they know what rule they broke to enforce their understanding. Teachers will be doing the same, so helping them remember and understand rules will make it easier for when they are actually in the classroom.

2) Feelings: A common phrase used by parents is “Use your big boy/girl words.” This will help children understand that screaming or crying isn’t going to get them what they need or want. Teach your child to properly express his or her feelings by talking about them. Let them interact with other children in the neighborhood or at a park. Help them understand that other children have feelings, too, and that they should understand what will and will not hurt the other children’s feelings.

3) Communication: Teach your child to communicate effectively. Talk to them every day like you would want them talking; use common language, speak in a normal tone of voice (no “baby talk”), and always answer your child’s questions. The latter will enforce that it’s okay to ask questions when they aren’t sure of the answer.

4) Sharing: This is a big one that can be especially difficult for parents of only one child. Teaching them to share with other children is especially important in a classroom, where a lot of coloring and other interactive activities will be happening.

C) Independence

This is the hardest one of all for parents. Because your child is going into school, he or she is going to have to know some basic independence skills required for being in kindergarten.

1) Taking Care: Let your child brush his or her own teeth, dress, tie shoes, and either morning routine activities. Allowing your child this type of independence will build their self-esteem and desire to continue doing it.

2) Potty Train: Most teachers don’t deal with children using the bathroom. In fact, a lot of schools require that kids are properly potty trained before entering kindergarten. Teaching them to use the bathroom properly, wipe, and thoroughly wash their hands will save you a lot of hassle with the school.

3) Cleaning up: Teaching your kid to clean up is not only a benefit to them, it is to you as well. Enforcing good behavior for cleaning up their messes will teach them to be a self-starter in the real world, and save you the time having to clean up after them.

Though it seems like a lot to do, all of these essentials are easy to integrate into your everyday life. It may take some extra work, but it will surely benefit your child for the long run. Happy parenting!

This is a guest post that was written by Taylor Laurents…thank you so much for these fantastic tips!


  1. Very good tips. It may seem far away for me (my son is only a toddler) but time flies too quickly. I'm going to have to bookmark this page! (and forward it to friends!)
  2. Greta post! Love all the suggestions :) Smiles, Jody
  3. some great thoughts! You know what else they want? For your kid to hold a pencil correctly. For the child to be able to sit still. The teachers here don't expect them to be reading but they should be able to identify letters. My son didn't read a word when he entered K and he's doing just fine!
  4. This is awesome info. There are so many levels of "readiness" but basic things that are helpful. At the elementary school I work at, the difference in the K's is amazing! And it all levels out eventually. How fun to be heading to preschool! He'll love it, and you will too.
  5. You sound a bit excited, mama.
  6. Good luck! He will be so happy after the first couple of weeks, when he gets to play with all his friends! Will ended up loving it and is still asking to go now even though we are on summer break!
  7. I have been in the early childhood field for a kajillion years (actually only 11, but it seems like a kajillion). I oversee 10 early childhood centers now and we often have children join us at the preschool age. One thing that is very difficult for them is the structure of the day. If your child is going to be entering preschool in the fall I would say consider setting them on a consistent schedule over the next couple of months. I know it sounds silly but even things as mundane as keeping snack time at 9:30 in the morning instead of whenever the child is hungry and always going out in the backyard at 10AM for a short time. Preschoolers who have been at home with mom often struggle with this adjustment - they don't understand why they can't eat snack at 10:15 even though it was offered at 9:45, they don't understand why they have to stop playing with the legos when they are perfectly happy and go outside. They want to take their sippy cup and cracker to the block area and snack instead of sitting at the table. It can be a huge adjustment for some and often can lead to frustation and sometimes acting out. Just some food for thought for those new preschoolers.
  8. Great post, Natalie! Katie starts preschool in just a couple of weeks and I'm a wreck about it. I know that she's ready. I know that she is dying to go. But's hard for me. Sigh.
  9. My kiddos are moving to the Preschool ROOM at Daycare on Monday and I'm just WOW, where did that time go. Since it's the same place and just a different room,I'm not totally freaked out, more like "where are my babies?" you know? this list is invaluable....thanks for taking the time to talk all of us through it, sometimes it's just nice to not feel so alone in your feelings. :)
  10. We used many of these tips when we were preparing our kids for preschool. The front-end work has paid off.
  11. I'm just coming off a rough year in kindergarten and here's my 2cents: If your school district has all day k and you have an active boy, demand that he only do a half day. Pick him up before lunch. You may need to go to the Super. to get the "ok." Maybe it was just the teacher we had - and she was great for academics, but this was her first year and I don't think she had a clue that 5 & 6 yo need to be moving not sitting all day. I now don't support all day K - we parents lose an entire year of teaching social skills and our child loses a year of learning social skills and maturing. Yes, their brains are ready for the academics, but many are not ready for the "sit still and be quiet all day" discipline. Honestly, I wouldn't worry much about pre-school; my kids did it, it's mostly just playing with introduction to social skills. Not a big deal. Be more worried about K - or I should say pro-active, talk to teachers and get your child switched or do a half day. Now I have #2 kiddo going into K and he still naps! Debating what to do....
  12. Love this post Natalie, and the comments are also invaluable. I had the opportunity to interview some kindergarten teachers recently and they said exactly what Cheryl said: be able to pay attention and sit still for 10 minutes at a time, hold a pencil and use kid safe scissors. The rest will come in time. Bookmarking this post!
  13. These are great tips! Harlan is starting preschool in the fall too, so these are extra handy!
  14. When I first looked at this, I was thinking, "what does she mean she doesn't know how to be ready for school? These are exactly what you need for school readiness." Then I saw it was a guest post. And a good one too - thanks for sharing this important information!
  15. I put my son in a kindergarten readiness program this year and it was the best $175 a month I ever spent. He and I are both fully prepared for him to start real school this year.
  16. Great tips. Unless your child is 2 and going to pre-pre-school. Lucas starts August 1 (just turned 2 last week) and he won't be potty-trained. :) Well, maybe...
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