How to know if your child is ready for kindergarten

From the moment they are born, your little one is basically attached to you at the hip. Even if they go to daycare during those early years, it’s hard to imagine them putting on a uniform and heading to school. But the time will come when they need to become kindergarteners – so how do you figure out when it’s the right moment?

There are some common tell-tale signs your child is ready to begin school. Here’s what to look out for.

Strong interest in learning

Is your child actively seeking out new learning opportunities? This is usually a sign of growth and increased curiosity. This could be a range of different things, such as:

  • picking up books to look at on their own (even if they can’t read yet)
  • playing with puzzles and looking for more difficult challenges
  • asking questions about everyday things, and searching for more answers with follow-up questions
  • wanting to learn how to do tactile things that you can do, such as handwriting or typing on a computer
  • a keen interest in hearing stories, whether listening to stories their loved ones tell them, or  on a favourite TV show
  • directly asking when they can start going to school.

Start paying close attention to your child’s reactions and everyday behaviour as these could be early signs that their mind is ready to learn.

Happy to go it alone

One thing you may notice during your child’s formative years – whether you look after them full-time at home, send them to daycare, or have friends and family over to help out regularly – is that they won’t want to leave your side. This is completely normal, and as they build their social skills and self-confidence they will become more comfortable being separated from you for the day.

One sign they might be ready for kindergarten is if they are happy just being on their own – they don’t need to always be close to a parent or carer, and they can confidently switch between home and daycare life without constant guidance.

Able to process instructions well

Signs that your child is getting better at following instructions might include:

  • they pick out their own clothes and dress themselves each morning
  • they don’t need anyone else to entertain themselves and keep them busy
  • when you ask them to brush their teeth, get into their PJs and get ready for bed, they can complete all those tasks without asking you for help.

Socialisation skills are on the rise

How does your little one interact with others? Are they good at actively communicating (physically and verbally) and do they naturally bond with other kids? Do they seek out friendships and ask about other people when they are at home?

Good socialisation skills are a great thing to have before school starts, as it will set your child up for positive interactions when they are in kindergarten. Some kids are slower to develop their socialisation skills than others, so getting them in communal settings more regularly – whether that’s at daycare, or regular visits to the park – can be helpful in preparing them for school.

But remember: It’s more than just one sign!

Even though the above can provide some really helpful pointers to look out for, there is no ‘one thing’ a child does that suddenly means they are ready for school. Everyone develops differently, and while one child might be running around and speaking in full sentences from an early age, for others it may be a more gradual process. As their parent, you’ll get a sense for their social and emotional skills, as well as their knowledge of the world around them. This can help inform your decision-making when it comes to starting kindergarten.

If you’re unsure, it might be worth seeking advice from a child behaviourist. They will be able to see how your child responds to different settings, listen to your concerns and then provide advice on when they should be starting school.

Sending your child off to school can be both an exciting and challenging time – for parents as well as the kids! As it’s a big change to your lifestyle, starting school is also a good time to consider life insurance to make sure your family is covered as your kids walk through life.