10 Signs Your Child Isn’t Ready for Kindergarten

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Kindergarten marks the beginning of your child’s academic career, and sets the tone for his early elementary years. So important is the foundation laid during the kindergarten term that the practice of “red-shirting” kids, ostensibly to give them an edge over the other kids in the class, is rampant. If you want your child to start kindergarten with kids his own age, you’ll have to make sure that he’s ready for school. Because kids tend to develop at their own pace and not necessarily that of their peers, however, your little one may simply not be ready when the time for enrollment rolls around.

1. He Has Trouble Following Directions

While most kids around five years of age will be actively looking for ways to assert their independence and test boundaries, your child may struggle in a classroom setting if trouble following simple directions is the norm.

2. His Letter and Number Recognition Skills Still Need Work

Most kindergarten programs will require that kids are able to sing the alphabet song, recognize some letters, count from one through ten and be able to recognize the shapes of numbers one through five before enrolling in kindergarten. If your child still needs a bit more work in these areas, it may be best to delay enrollment.

3. He Struggles With Color and Shape Recognition

Basic color recognition and the ability to name simple shapes are another hallmark of kindergarten readiness. Working with your child to boost his skills in this area may be enough to help him get into kindergarten without any issue, but he will need to be fairly comfortable reciting them in order to thrive in a classroom setting.

4. He’s Not Fully Potty Trained

Even kids that are fully potty trained have been known to have the occasional accident when they start kindergarten. After all, there’s so much stimulation that kids can easily be distracted when nature calls. If your little one is still struggling to make it to the potty on time throughout the day when he’s not in an overly stimulating environment, kindergarten could pose a bit of a problem.

5. He Doesn’t Work Well in a Group

One of the skills that kindergarten educators work to improve in their pint-sized students is their ability to work within a group, helping them learn to share with one another and to socialize well together. Kids need to have this basic ability, or at least be open to the idea of working with others for that instruction to take hold, though.

6. His Fine Motor Skills Need a Bit More Development

Most kindergartners will start writing a letter in the first week of school, so it’s important that your child’s motor skills are developed enough to allow him to hold a pencil. Cutting, pasting and coloring are also common kindergarten tasks, and your child could fall behind if he’s not able to manage them.

7. He Doesn’t Communicate His Needs Well

In order for your child’s teacher to be able to help him flourish in kindergarten, she will need to be able to communicate with him. Your child will also need to be able to communicate his basic needs, especially if potty training is a relatively new area of mastery.

8. He Didn’t Attend Preschool

Successful completion of a preschool program is no guarantee that your child will be ready for kindergarten, just as the decision to skip pre-K programs won’t necessarily doom him to a delayed kindergarten start. There is a better chance, however, that your little pre-K graduate will be more acclimated to a classroom setting and as such be more prepared for school.

9. He Suffers From Severe Separation Anxiety

A few tears at the doorway are so normal that they’ve almost become a cliché, but there are kids that suffer from separation anxiety that goes far beyond the norm. If your child is one of them, it may be wise to discuss the matter with his pediatrician before enrollment.

10. He Was a Preemie

Kids that are born prematurely may lag a bit behind their peers in development; after all, the first few months of their lives are spent simply trying to finish the development that was supposed to happen in utero. While not all preemies will be forced to delay the beginning of kindergarten, it’s not necessarily cause for concern if your little one isn’t quite ready.

Realizing that your child isn’t ready for kindergarten at the same time as his peers can be a bit disheartening, but it’s important to remember that his lack of readiness isn’t necessarily a sign of real developmental delays. It’s also important to remember that emotional readiness is as important, if not more so than academic readiness when considering kindergarten enrollment.  Consulting your pediatrician about your concerns and taking the extra year to work on boosting his existing skills will almost certainly leave your child more than prepared for the fun and excitement of kindergarten.

Article printed with permission from Hire A Nanny.

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