Passionate About Pittsburgh
and the Moms Who Live Here

10 Things to Teach your Child before Kindergarten

As my youngest enters kindergarten, I’m tentative, nervous, scared, anxious, excited, and relieved. She doesn’t know how to read, she writes her numbers backwards and her double blends consonants are still babyish. But, at least she knows a few of the basics. The alternate title to this one was “10 ways to ensure your kid is not an {expletive} upon entering the public-school system.” 

  1. Bathroom etiquette. We obviously emphasize the hand washing too, but I’m talking about remembering that you are not the only one who uses the bathroom. Kindergartners should remember to flush the toilet.

  1. Be happy with what you’ve asked for. As in, not arbitrarily changing your mind. This is different than, “you get what you get and don’t get upset.” Meaning, you haven’t had the choice. That is also a great lesson, but probably one that this age is still learning. Being happy with what you’ve asked to receive is all about self-composure. A child shouldn’t change her mind once she sees what others are getting. This is about not second-guessing your choices, being content with your decision and if it’s not a perfect one, learning for the next time.

  1. Putting the cap back on the right marker. All the way. To the point where it you hear it click shut. Again, much like the flushing, this one is all about respect to the next user.


  1. Spills and accidents are part of life, but try to minimize the mess. Food and open drinks are to be consumed over a table or other appropriate surface. 


  1. How to lose. I mean how to lose at something that they really, really like. For my son, it was board games. For my daughter, this is something that is generally considered less competitive, like playing freeze dance. Whatever it is, teach kids that there are winners and losers. Even if you have to play a thousand times in order for them to learn.

  1. How to wait in line. Without whining. Without massive amounts of fidgeting.

  1. You are not the only one who really, really likes something. Once kids get this, I find that they are more willing to share. Or at least understand why sharing is important.


  1. You may be the only person who really, really likes something. For my son, he has a hard time accessing interest of other people. He is starting to realize that he is the only one who likes some obscure game that he plays on his iPad.

  1. Cleaning up. My kids are OK with cleaning up their own messes, but struggle if the mess was not created by them. Participating in a group cleanup goes a long way in endearing yourself to the teacher. And, it’s always good to stay on the teacher’s good side.

  1. Talking and listening to adults. I know, this is the most complicated lesson of all. I guess for kindergarten, kids should know how to take instructions from someone other than a parent, such as teachers and other adults in charge, like babysitters, life guards, bus drivers, and medical professionals. Also important here is good eye contact and answering when spoken to. Even short responses are fine – good, yes, no, please, and thank you are always good answers. Finally, kids should know how to communicate their needs to an adult that isn’t your parent.

Bonus: How to sit still and be quiet while an adult reads aloud for storytime.

Wishing everyone a safe and happy school year.

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