By Kaylen Wade of Ginger Fox Stylings
Well, it’s happened. My daughter’s going into kindergarten. But to be honest, I’m having a hard time believing it. How can she be ready for kindergarten? For that matter, how is it even possible that I have a kindergartener?
The preschool sent us home with a handy little workable checklist titled “Kindergarten Readiness Skills” to ensure she’ll excel in the new school year. They neglected, however, to provide us any guidance on whether or not I, myself, am emotionally, physically, and mentally mature enough to be the parent of a kindergartener.
In case you find yourself in a similar situation, I’ve designed a comprehensive checklist to gauge your own likelihood for a successful kindergarten year, using my daughter’s Kindergarten Readiness Skills guidelines as a starting point. I hope it helps.
Kindergarten Readiness Checklist for Adults
To evaluate your own progress, answer each skill with “Yes I Can,” “Not Always,” or “Not yet.”
SELF HELP SKILLS
- Able to dress self: puts on coat, fastens zippers and buttons. Ensemble need not yet be matching and fully coordinated, but you should be able—with prompting—to admit that you could have done better.
- States full name and age. OK if stated age is undershot by up to 5-7 years.
- Can use the bathroom independently and complete accompanying hygiene tasks. Except regular flossing. We are fairly certain regular flossing is like extraterrestrial life: it probably exists, but no one we know has ever encountered it.
- Separates from caregivers without excessive upset. e.g. When spouse is out of town, can handle nights alone with the kids without consuming more than two glasses of wine per child per night.
- Plays/shares with other children. e.g. Able to arrange playdates with other kids at their house.
- Waits his turn. e.g. Does not actively seek out Game of Thrones spoilers.
- Recognizes and responds to other people’s feelings. e.g. “I can see you’re upset, so I promise to stop trying to sell you shampoo/vitamins/leggings/weight loss supplements on Facebook.”
- Expresses needs and wants verbally. e.g. “I need to clean out the garbage disposal. I want someone else to do it for me.”
- Speaks in complete sentences of 5 to 6 words. Five to six words can effectively convey most critical information, for example: “Have you scheduled your vasectomy yet?”
- Understands positional vocabulary. e.g. “You will not be on top of me again until you go under the knife.”
- Is generally understood by adults. More difficult than it sounds, as most adults have a hard time understanding anything at all, regardless of how clearly it is communicated.
- Uses words, not physical action, to express emotions such as anger or disappointment. Words about physical action okay: e.g. “Jon, mark my words. I will rip your balls out if you forget to take out the trash again.”
FINE MOTOR SKILLS
- Able to control scissors to complete an intentional task. e.g. “If you won’t schedule this vasectomy, then I will be happy to do the procedure myself.”
- Able to put together simple puzzles. e.g. The mystery of how there can possibly be 15 sippy cups and only 11 lids.
- Holds pencil/crayon in a non-fisted grip. See also: no longer forms fists when told in-laws are coming to visit.
GROSS MOTOR SKILLS
- Jumps with feet together and hops while balancing on one foot…without losing control of bladder.
- Climbs stairs with alternating feet…while carrying up the stack of junk that’s been slowly accumulating at the bottom in the ‘put away later’ pile.
- Attempts a two-handed catch of a kickball. “Attempts” being the key word. If you couldn’t do it in high school, we sure as hell won’t require you to actually execute now.
- Runs and skips. Most likely after putting the children to bed for the night.
- Can sort items by one or more attributes. e.g. Riesling, merlot, cabernet, chardonnay
- Identifies, either verbally or by pointing to, the colors of crayons in the 8-count box (green, yellow, orange, red, purple, blue, brown, black.) e.g. The exact color cycle of the gradually-molding lettuce in the refrigerator
- Beginning to count with one-to-one correspondence. e.g. Uses calendar to count out number of days in menstrual cycle so as to always have in possession appropriate amounts of tampons and condoms (assuming vasectomy still hasn’t been scheduled, which it probably hasn’t.)
LITERACY/PHONEMIC AWARENESS SKILLS
- Enjoys being read to/listening to stories. Included: Binge watching Westworld / Poldark / Black Mirror. Excluded: Real Housewives / Real World / anything ‘real.’
- Identifies some letters and some of the sounds they make. e.g. Can successfully complete an internet Captcha.
- Can draw a picture to express an idea. e.g.
- Recognizes own name in print. e.g. Scans obituaries for own name the morning after a mild night out drinking.
Now check through your answers. If you mostly answered “Yes I Can,” then congrats! You’re probably ready to be the parent of a kindergartener! If more of your answers are “Not Always” or “Not Yet,” there may be some skills you should further develop. But there’s good news! With your child suddenly out of the house five days a week, three hours a day, you’ll have plenty of time to practice! We recommend beginning with “Can sort items by one or more attributes”—Bevmo’s five cent sale is a good way to get started.
(Kindergarten Readiness for Adults checklist inspired by the Kindergarten Readiness Skills checklist found at Verywell Family.)
About the Author
You can find Kaylen Wade on Twitter @kaylen_wade, or on Instagram @gingerfoxstylings where she reviews picture books and pairs them with matching children’s outfits. Kaylen also has a blog, www.gingerfoxstylings.com, which she hopelessly neglects, but which you can always check out if you want to feel better about your own half-started creative projects.