5 Skills That Your Child Should Master Before Kindergarten

Getting ready for Kindergarten can be an exciting (and overwhelming) time for many parents. As children transition from home and preschool environments to elementary school, parents may wonder if their child is ready and has the skills for early success. Because of COVID-19, many preschool aged children are missing out on the last months of preparation before the new school year begins, leaving even more questions for parents about school readiness.

At Project Play Therapy, we work with parents in the greater Nashville area daily whose children need extra support to reach milestones, or who want their children to learn and master new skills that will help to prepare them for success in school. It is important to us that we support all children in reaching their full potential.

Here are the top 5 skills that your child should master before kindergarten (and some resources to help you practice):

Fine motor skills:

Developing strong fine motor skills early on will help your child with daily tasks in school. From handwriting to cutting, and all things academic to art, preparing your preschooler for fine motor success will lead to a happy and more productive student. Click below to download our FREE Fine Motor Activity Packet for Preschoolers.

Fine motor activities for preschoolers


Teaching your child independence in their daily tasks certainly sets your child up for success at home. But it also builds confidence, as well as their ability to follow directions and see a process through to completion – skills that will build academic success at school. Simple self-care is often a great place to start with your Kindergartener. Try brushing teeth, getting dressed, or even just navigating buttons independently – and don’t forget to give them plenty of praise along the way. Check out our YouTube channel for lots of tips for building independence with self-care tasks.

Project Play Therapy YouTube Channel

Emotional Regulation:

Developing the ability to regulate their emotions will help your child navigate the new environment, tasks, and friendships they encounter in school. Beginning Kindergarten is an emotional time for everyone, and your child may need help managing stress, fear, or even just excitement. Click below for a video full of tips on promoting emotional regulation with your child.

Following a Schedule:

For most of the school day your kindergartener will be following a schedule in the classroom. To ensure that your child will have success navigating their day, you can practice by creating a schedule for them to follow at home. Try working in an everyday schedule for their morning or bedtime routines, as a starting point. See the video below to find out more about creating a visual schedule for them to follow.

Have Fun!!!

While you are working on all these important skills – don’t forget to have a little FUN! Your child learns best through play, and will be more motivated if you make activities play based. Doing puzzles together, completing an art project, or getting outside to do some sports as a family are simple ways to have fun with your child, while also building critical skills that link to foundational academic skills, and help them to navigate social relationships. Check out this link to a fun sidewalk chalk obstacle course – and don’t forget to enjoy your child!