What teachers look for in new kindergartners

Seven ways to get your child ready for school.

By GreatSchools Staff

What does your child need to be ready for kindergarten? To be able to count to 50, say the alphabet, and read short words? Not at all.

By the end of kindergarten, your child will probably be able to do all of these things. As your child starts the school year, here are seven things a teacher really wants to see in her new kindergartners — all things you can help with at home:

KEY TO SUCCESS WHY IT'S IMPORTANT WHAT YOU CAN DO
Coming to school well-rested  Sleep is one of the most important ingredients for a growing brain — and kindergartners need between 10 and 12 hours of it a night. Have an early-to-bed routine, with your child asleep by 8:00 p.m. for a 7:00 a.m. wake-up.
 Coming to school well-fed Send your child to school with a belly full of good food and her brain will thank you. Serve easy-to-make, healthy breakfasts, like whole-grain cold cereals, oatmeal or other warm cereals, fruit smoothies, eggs, whole-grain toast and peanut butter.
Being able to say what she needs, wants, and thinks
 
You probably know what your child needs without her asking, but it’s important that she can tell a grown-up at school. Instead of jumping up when you see your child needs something, like a glass of milk or help with her coat, wait for her to ask for it.
Being able to follow directions Kids at school need to follow a teacher's directions. Help your child practice following directions: 1)Tell your child what to do (not what not to do), like, "Please walk" instead of “Don't run." 2) Give simple directions with about two steps: "Hang up your coat and unpack your backpack."
Knowing how to listen Listening to the teacher and waiting for a chance to speak is hard work for a kindergartner! But knowing how to listen and when to talk is an important skill kids need throughout their school years. At mealtimes, show how to take turns to talk, gently reminding your child to listen to you without interrupting. Ask your child questions to make sure he's understood what you've said to him.
Being able to take turns Taking turns can be really hard for kids, especially if they are the only child at home. Practice taking turns in games you play together — basketball, cards, board games, and video games. When you're playing, say, "It's my turn" and "It's your turn." Hearing this reminder helps your child learn that each person will get a turn.