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How to Prepare Your Preschooler for Kindergarten


Is your pre-schooler ready for kindergarten? We share a few tips on how you can prepare your pre-schooler for kindergarten without too much fuss.


Spring break is over and I can't believe in just a couple of months, Madison will be starting kindergarten. She's currently in preschool and has no idea that preschool is going to be so much different than kindergarten. She's of the impression that it's going to be nap time and snack time and all the other down time she currently receives in preschool. I know that I need to prepare her for kindergarten, and I am sure that there are other parents out there who want to know how to do so as well. Here’s how to prepare your preschooler for kindergarten.


When your child goes off to kindergarten, she has officially graduated to the big kid leagues! For some, the adjustment is smooth, but for others, it can take some time. While the case for your little one will depend on a number of factors (whether she has been to pre-k, whether she is going for full or half-days, where she is developmentally and socially), there are a few general tips you can practice at home ahead of the start of the school year. Many of them can be done under the guise of play. (Learning should be fun!)

First, visit the Kindergarten class your child will likely be attending. Even if you do this a year in advance, even if the exact teacher and classroom are still unknown, get acquainted with the general schedule the students follow throughout the day. You can loosely follow this schedule to get your little one used to the routine. Even if things don’t happen at exactly the same time every day, kids notice when certain things follow a specific order (outside play time comes before lunch, which comes before art, and then we have reading time, etc.) Institute a weeknight bedtime, if you haven’t already, and wake your child up at the same time each weekday. This way, it won’t be a shock when it’s a non-negotiable element of every day.


Then, start being mindful of the activities you participate in at home. Your child’s best chances for success lie in knowing some basic skills. (And if she isn’t ready yet, trust your gut and wait a year.) Try to incorporate these things into her daily weekday routine:

  • Encourage your child to try activities above her skill level, and to calmly ask for help if she is having a problem.
  • Practice taking turns.
  • Work with your child to clean up toys after she’s done playing with them.
  • Make sure your child is able to understand and complete simple one and two-step instructions. Reward him with lots of praise when she follows through.
  • Read to your child daily. Use your finger to follow along with the words as you read them aloud. Ask your child about what happened in the story afterward. Allow her to “read” the story back to you.
  • Institute art time that gives your child time to draw or paint freely on blank paper. Allow him or her to get comfortable using safety scissors during this time. String large beads or macaroni noodles together.

  • Teach your child the upper and lower cases of the alphabet. Work on the sounds each letter makes. Practice spelling her first name.
  • Have your child sort items by color, size and shape (This works with household both items and toys, and verbally at the grocery store or on a car ride). When physically sorting objects, work on creating patterns and practice identifying shapes.
  • Practice counting to 20. Teach your child to recognize numbers 1 through 10.
  • Make sure your child can name basic colors. 
  • Play with Play-Doh and put puzzles together.
  • Talk about directions (up/down, on/off) and opposites (hot/cold, big/small).
  • Engage your child in physical play (skipping, catching, and stacking).
  • Encourage imaginary play.
  • Set up regular play dates, and utilize drop-off childcare services when you can to show your child that you will always come back for her.

What tips can you share? 


Annmarie John
46 Comments
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46 comments:

  1. I like these tips for preparing your child for Kindergarten. I am over that phase of parenting and I know how stressful it is for both parent and child. I am positive your daughter will make a smooth transition because you are a good mom to her!

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  2. I am not ready for this! It seems like such s big deal these days. But I know preparing him willl help it go smoothly. I'm just not ready yet!

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  3. Each of my boys went to two years of preschool, so I didn't have to do a thing. They were ready based on what they learned in school :)

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  4. Aw, what great tips for preparing your little one for kindergarten. Love the taking turns and cleaning up - those are amazing tips for adults too! haha...

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  5. Sigh. You and me both. I can't believe it! I just registered Des and there's a timeline from the school where they do orientation, Buddy Day, kindergarten playground playdates, etc. Preschool prepares him fairly well, and he loves to talk about numbers, letters, counting, etc. I'm excited and terrified!

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  6. These are excellent tips. When my kids went to kindergarten, I talked about it all the time so they were excited about it, and I made sure they knew exactly what to expect.

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  7. I love this post. I remember my first day of kindergarten. I was totally afraid that it lasted 7 days a week and that I'd miss my Saturday morning cartoons.

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  8. These are such great ideas! Kindergarten is new territory for kids. That includes things like social interaction in big groups. I think this is genius.

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  9. These are great tips! I have worked on both sides, being the parent of kindergartners, and being a teachers aide in kindergarten classes. I agree completely with your tips. Knowing numbers, 1 thru 20 is another expectation that teachers have for your kids. Since they will be adding and subtracting, knowing these numbers are so important. Also scissors! If your child hasn't been to preschool, where they were using scissors on a daily basis, your child totally needs to learn how to hold and at least cut with scissors. You wouldn't believe how many kids come in and can't hold a pair of scissors correctly. This is another expectation that the teacher is going to have of your child. It's so sad that the kids today need to know all of these things entering kindergarten, because back when I went to kindergarten, in the early 80's, these are all the things you learned!

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  10. Oh it has been a very long time since I had a kid in this age group. My tip would be join a group with other preschool aged kids and do park days, library days etc. That way your kid will have some social interaction before kindergarten (especially if private preschool is too expensive for your budget)

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  11. Kindergarten is no joke. Preparing for it makes excellent sense. Also the pre-determined bedtime is a must, because you're right kids will attempt to negotiate. If it's a non-negotiable from the beginning, then you have no worries at all when it comes up. :)

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  12. When my girls went to preschool it was very emotional! These are great tips to make sure they are ready!

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  13. My son is in Kindergarten this year. We did the student orientation visit during the summer before the school year started. He had went to the public Pre-K the year before as well, so he was a bit prepared when Kindergarten started!

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  14. Such a great post! I will absolutely be keeping these in mind for when my kids are older.

    Belle | www.OneAwesomeMomma.com

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  15. This is great advice! We took our time trying to find a good kindergarten for the kids. I think taking time to work on some basic skills before enrolling is a good idea.

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  16. It is so important to make sure your kid is ready for kindergarten! These are great skills to have down.

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  17. Getting the children ready for a longer day and getting their schedule regulated will be half the battle. It really looks like you are getting the skills practiced so she will be ahead of most of the kids.

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  18. Lots of good advice. For my child, the most difficult thing was getting used to getting up early every day.

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  19. This is a great way to transition from pre-school to school, especially when it comes to doing activities above their skill set. That way they can feel a bit more prepared for school x

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  20. I will have a kindergartner in a few years - much of your list are things we can work on and up to as my little hits that point. Thanks for all the great info!

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  21. These are such wonderful tips! I think some of these also are great for getting any age kid ready for back to school after summer break too!

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  22. These remind me of all of the things my Mom started doing with me long before K, and I in turn did the same with my youngest. It's never too early to help encourage education.

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  23. This is a tough one to let go and watch them gain independence. Your daughter seems like a friendly little girl. I think she will make fast friends

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  24. I didn't realise how many things you'd need to consider when your child moves from preschool to kindergarten x

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  25. As a two time in a row, kindergarten mom you nailed this. The adjustment period for kids and moms can vary, but make no mistake going from pre-school to kindergarten for both is a huge step. Hugs and cannot believe that Madison will be in kindergarten this fall as I remember when we first met she was still just a baby. God, time really does fly!

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  26. Your daughter seems very friendly and sweet, I think she will make friends easily. It certainly is hard to let go of them and allow them to gain independence but they have to gain it some day. x

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  27. These are awesome tips!! It's very important that we prepare them before them for kindergarten. Thank you for sharing these!

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  28. These are wonderful tips. I have over a year before my oldest goes to kindergartner, but it is nice to prepare early. We will be doing VPK starting in August, so that should be a big help. I have to say though, I really do believe learning starts at home.

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  29. AnnMarie, these are some thoroughly thought through tips! Preschoolers can feel excited and worried at the same time. So it's great to talk about the upcoming changes with your kid and give him/her enough tools to make good decisions and smart choices.

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  30. These are amazing tips, and i never would have thought of some these things. My son starts kindergarten next fall so i am keeping this list handy!

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  31. These are great tips! My daughter will be starting kindergarten this year and I can't wait to see all the adventure she will have and all the friends that she will make.

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  32. I have a little one starting Kindergarten in September so we are doing all we can now to help prepare him. We don't have pre-school here so at age 4 they head right into Kinder! - Jeanine

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  33. My nephew is about to enter 1st grade and my two nieces are about to start pre-K. All three will be at new schools and I think the tips you provided will really help should they have any transition issues. I think making the new school year sound fun an exciting is a great way to help with transition. I remember loving to go school shopping, which helped make the new school year worth looking forward to, at least until jr high.

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  34. I have been following Ms Madison for years! I can't believe she will already be heading to kindergarten. She was born around the same time as my son.

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  35. These are such good tips. My child goes to kindergarten this year so I am going to implement some of these

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  36. They really do grow up so quickly. I love your tips on preparing them for Kindergarten, it really is a transition.

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  37. This is a great guide. My son is in his first year of pre-k. I know it will fly.

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  38. Love her hair! I don't have kids yet but looks like you have given a lot of thought to transition issues.

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  39. Luckily we didn't have to do much preparation but it was definitely an emotional time for us all!

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  40. These are amazing tips! I love that you've thought of this. I wonder if my mom did this with me haha! I can't wait to help my nephew spell his name ! I also like the idea of teaching them to pick up toys !

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  41. These are such excellent tips! My middle daughter went into kindergarten this year. Luckily it was a pretty easy transition!

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  42. This is so important! Kindergarten has seriously gotten more serious than ever and every little bit of extra knowledge the kiddos have is awesome.

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  43. This will definitely be something I'l lbe bookmarking! I didn't know this transition could be so difficult!

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  44. Oh man, they grow up so fast! I think it is great to have a little preparation anyways! Kids are required to know so much even before they go to school these days.

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  45. Teaching kids how to pick up and clean up toys is a great way to prepare them for Preschooler. The "Clean up" song helps a lot with that.

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  46. She is the cutest thing! I love her purple hair! So fab!

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[name=AnnMarie John] [img=https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X9gUeVik-ZY/WJjwNTOobII/AAAAAAABTJ4/qEhU0n62_AIo-j6-6LA2OFOr44lKCHASwCLcB/s100/AnnMarie%2BJohn%2BHeadshot.JPG] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook=http://www.facebook.com/theannmariejohn) (instagram=http://www.instagram.com/theannmariejohn) (twitter=http://www.twitter.com/theannmariejohn) (pinterest=http://www.pinterest.com/theannmariejohn) (email=mailto:annmarie@annmariejohn.com)

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