In just a couple of weeks, you’ll be the parent of a kindergartner. Hard to imagine, right? It is for us. It feels like just a few months ago we welcomed our oldest into the world and now, we’re sending him out into the school world. Crazy.

This summer we’ve spent lots of time – more than we’d like to, honestly – trying to prepare him for what’s to come. He’s resistant to some things, but open to others. We figure that like most childhood transitions, he’ll get these things eventually. Sometimes seeing other kids doing a task or accomplishing a skill forces a child to pick up that skill or task more quickly. They don’t like to be far behind their peers.

There are lots of skills that we’d like him to be armed with when he leaves our nest and journeys off to those long days at elementary school. We also know that his kindergarten teacher is not going to perform these tasks for him.

Here a few that you might consider working on:

1. Sight Words

By the age of five, most kids know their letters. Now, it’s time to start putting those letters to use and learning words. There are lists of sight words online that children entering kindergarten should begin familiarizing themselves with.

2. Potty Training

Most five-year-olds are well past potty training, but there may be some loose ends. For instance, making sure they can clean themselves properly. It takes time and effort to make sure that your child feels secure but it’s a crucial step for your kindergartner.

3. Tying Shoes

This is a skill that many kids struggle with and to be honest, many five-year-olds cannot accomplish it. They’ve grown up with Velcro or slip-on shoes and learning the intricacies of tying a knot can be difficult. Spend time with them and a piece of shoestring and help them by working slowly and calmly on this skill. Even if they don’t know how to completely tie their shoes by kindergarten, they can feel better about themselves, knowing that they’re trying. 

4. Opening Food

Ripping the top off a yogurt tube or putting a straw into a juice box can be challenging for little hands. Helping your child figure out this seemingly simple task will make their lunchtime smoother and possibly help them avoid a few nasty spills.

5. Scissors

Your child will be spending part of their day making crafts. Make sure that you have a pair of safety scissors in the house that they can use to learn how to cut safely and properly.

6. Cleaning Up a Mess

If you’ve spent the past few years constantly cleaning up after your child, this might be a challenge. Your child needs to know how to clean up and put away his mess. That will be expected in kindergarten.

7. Buttoning and Snapping

Depending on the clothes your child wears to school, it’s important that they know how to handle dressing themselves. After they use the potty, your child will need to know how to button or snap their pants closed. Work with them now using the clothes they have to make sure they feel confident doing this task.

These skills will not only help your child get through the day, but will also build lasting confidence that will benefit them throughout their lives.