If you have a preschool-aged child, or if you want to make sure your baby or toddler is on the right track, you should know what important skills your child needs to have before they start kindergarten. Many parents think that, so long as their child is reaching their developmental milestones, they’ll be ready for kindergarten—and those are definitely important! But there are some more specific examples I want to give you on what skills your child should have to make sure they start kindergarten on the right foot.
When it comes to speech, the main thing you want to look out for is, can your child communicate with others and understand other people? Can they get their ideas understood? Can other people understand what they are saying? Before starting kindergarten, your child should be able to:
- Speak clearly, or use sign language effectively
- Pronounce words well enough that they can be understood
- Speak with the right volume and cadence
- Ask questions
- Answer questions or follow simple instructions
Occupational and Fine Motor Milestones
Now for occupational and fine motor skills, you want your child to be able to keep up with the other children in their class. You also want them to be able to participate in classwork, like learning the alphabet, counting, and writing. In order to do that, your child should be able to do the following before starting kindergarten:
- Hold a crayon or marker and make marks on paper
- Draw simple shapes
- Use child-safe scissors to cut paper
- Balance and coordinate their movement to run, jump, climb, etc.
- Draw simple faces and bodies
- Recognize their ABC’s
- Recognize numbers one to five
Emotional Regulation Milestones
You’ve probably known a child who brings everything to a halt when they get upset. They may throw tantrums, cry about seemingly simple things, take toys from other children, or do other things that make them not very fun to be around or play with. It’s important for your child’s sake, for their teacher’s sake, and for the sake of the other students in their class that your child knows healthy ways to regulate their emotions before they start kindergarten. This can include:
- Not having meltdowns when something happens that they don’t like
- Talking things out with other children or adults
- Explaining how they feel, why something hurt their feelings, etc.
- Being willing to take turns or be patient
- Knowing not to hit, bite, throw, or otherwise hurt people when they’re mad
For some children, these milestones may be more difficult to reach; but they are important for developing healthy social and emotional skills. And obviously, we’re not talking about when your child is exhausted, didn’t get enough sleep, hasn’t eaten enough, or anything like that. They are a child, and sometimes a tantrum is just going to happen. What we mean is, can they handle these emotional skills more often than not? When they’re rested and fed, can they do the things listed above? That’s what’s important for kindergarten readiness.
Then lastly, when it comes to feeding, your child basically needs to be able to independently eat their lunch and snacks when they get to kindergarten. This means they should be able to:
- Drink out of a regular cup without spilling
- Use utensils and their hands to get food into their mouth
- Chew and swallow without choking
- Eat a variety of different nutritious foods
Call Us Today for a Free Phone Screening
If your child is getting ready to start kindergarten, or if they already have, and they’ve not quite reached the milestones listed above, give us a call. We can figure out what is giving them trouble and come up with a personalized therapy program to give your child the best chance of success in kindergarten and beyond.
Call us at (318) 746-1199 today for a free phone screening!