The day has finally arrived, time to start kindergarten. It can be a terrifying time for young children and parents alike, as parents strive to do their very best to prepare their kids for what to expect in the classroom. Of course, this is totally new and totally foreign to most kids, so there are a few things you can do to help prepare your kiddos for the big day.
Susan Amador
Kindergarten Teacher
Monaco Elementary School
Denver, CO 80222

Michelle Bandos
Kindergarten Teacher
Jefferson Academy
Broomfield, CO 80020

Perhaps the best way to prepare your children for school is to get some tips from the kindergarten teachers themselves. Susan Amador and Michelle Bandos are both kindergarten teachers, and each has plenty of experience helping children acclimate to the classroom. Amador and Bandos have offered up the following tips to help you prepare kids for their first days of kindergarten. Luckily, there are several small things you can do at home to ensure a safe, smooth and relatively easy time getting adjusted to this new way of life.

Socializing Is Important

As Amador explains, it’s important for your kids to have some time socializing with other children their same age. “Have the students socialize with other children by playing on the playground or in other areas, that would be great” she offers. You can take your kid to a playground for plenty of interaction with other children, or look to kids in the neighborhood for a play date or other fun afternoon activities.
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Prepare For The ABC’s

If your child is going into kindergarten, it’s a good idea to make sure he or she is at least familiar with their ABC’s and should be able to count to 10. “They should be able to say their ABC’s,” Amador offers. “Read them out of order, count to at least 10 or 10 and write numbers up to 10.” If your kiddo isn’t able to do that yet, don’t despair. “If they can’t, as long as they have been exposed to them and know how to count objects up to 10 or close” that will be a very big help.

Practice Manners

Manners are big in school, especially for the younger ages, when they’re learning how to interact with other people regularly. “They should know how to sit and listen to a story and interact with others about that story,” explains Amador. “Kindness and manners would be very awesome.” You could even prepare some kindness and manner flash cards or practice manners with your children while their at a playdate or interacting with other adults. “Being able to share, which is a skill that continually develops in kindergarten” is important as well, offers Michelle Bandos. “And listen to a story without constantly interrupting.”

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Basic Skills

Another very helpful way to prepare your child for the big day is to practice all those basic life skills. “We love when kids come in with basic self help skills too,” Bandos explains. “Being able to put their coat on and be able to zip their coat, slip their own feet into their own shoes, and they work on tying their shoes at home during that kindergarten year.” Other skills that Bandos thinks would be helpful include things like blowing their nose, unbuttoning or unzipping their pants for the bathroom. “All those skills should be practiced at home and aren’t skills the teacher can necessarily work on with individual kids.”

Be Your Own Advocate

Lastly, it’s important for your children to be their own advocates in the classroom. This deals with the ability to express their needs succinctly to let the teacher know when they need some help with something. “I am an advocate of teaching kids how to be their own advocates,” Bandos offers. “Expressing what they need or asking for help if they can’t zip their coat or open their milk, or if they don’t understand what to do.” This also comes into play with things like letting the teacher know when they aren’t feeling well or if they need water. Your child should be prepared to advocate for him or herself, to help them achieve their very best while in the classroom.

Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at