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23 Things Your Child Should Be Able To Do Before They Start School

Time has flown and now your little one is getting ready for their first day of school. You may be feeling a mixture of emotions; pride, excitement and more than likely, a little bit of sadness.

Starting school is a HUGE milestone for both you and your child, but it doesn't have to be daunting. child smiling with arms crossed on top of her work books

To help ease the transition, we've put together a list of 23 things your child should be able to do before they start school:

1. Write their own name

One of the first things we, as adults, try to do when we know that our child is fast approaching school age is to teach them how to write their own name.

It's a skill that they will definitely need when they start school, and it's one that will make them feel extra proud of themselves.

Related: Four Ways Children Could Make Up for Lost School Time

2. Spell their name

Along with learning to write their name, your child should also be able to spell it correctly.

This is another important milestone that they will need to be able to do to really help them feel confident when they start school.

3. Recite the alphabet

Your child should know their ABCs before starting school. This is another basic skill that they will need to have in order to be successful in their education.

4. Count from 1-20

Being able to count is essential, and your child should be able to do it up to 20 before they start school.

This will help them with basic maths skills and so much more.

5. Identify shapes

It's important for your child to start identifying shapes from a young age. This skill will help them in many different areas of their education, from geometry to art.

6. Identify colours

Along with shapes, it's also important for your child to start identifying colours. This will help them in not only their school work, but also in everyday life.

7. Understand basic time concepts

Your child should be able to understand things like "it's morning," "it's evening," "it's time for bed," etc. before they start school.

This will help them to be more aware of what's going on around them and when things are happening.

8. Be able to read simple words

Your child doesn't need to be a reading expert before starting school, but it is a massive help (and confidence boost) if they can read some simple words.

9. Write a sentence

Your child doesn't need to be writing long, intricate sentences before starting school, but it is important for them to be able to write at least one sentence.

This will show their teachers that they have the basic writing skills necessary to succeed in school.

10. Follow simple instructions

In order for your child to be successful in school (and in life), they need to be able to follow simple instructions.

This means being able to understand and follow directions that are given to them, whether it's from a teacher, parent, or friend.

11. Understand the concept of "same" and "different"

Your child should be able to understand concepts like "same" and "different" before they start school.

This will help them in many different areas, including basic maths skills and vocabulary development.

12. Be able to share and take turns

It's important for your child to be able to share and take turns before they start school.

This is a social skill that will help them in many different aspects of their life, both in and out of the classroom.

13. Be potty-trained

This one may seem a little bit of an odd one (most of us would assume that children of school age are potty-trained, however, you'd be surprised)!

It's important for your child to be potty-trained before they start school because it will make the transition a lot easier for them (and their teachers).

14. Be able to dress themselves

Your child should be able to dress themselves before they start school. This includes being able to put on their own clothes, shoes, and jackets.

It may seem like a small thing, but it's actually a very important skill for them to have.

15. Be able to brush their own teeth

Another seemingly small, but important, skill that your child should have before starting school is being able to brush their own teeth.

This is a good habit for them to get into and will help them to stay healthy and clean.

16. Be able to wash their own hands

Washing your hands is a very important part of staying healthy (especially in these Covid times) and your child should be able to do it on their own before they start school.

17. Understand the importance of personal hygiene

It's not enough for your child to just be able to wash their hands and brush their teeth; they also need to understand why personal hygiene is so important.

This is a lesson that will help them throughout their life, and it's one that you can start teaching them from a young age.

18. Have some basic knowledge about safety rules

Your child should have some basic knowledge about safety rules before they start school.

This includes things like knowing not to cross the road without looking first, not to touch a hot stove/open flame/boiling water, etc. and how to dial the emergency services if necessary.

19. Use a computer

In today's day and age, it's important for children to have some basic computer skills before they start school.

This doesn't mean that they need to be able to write a program or build a website, but they should at least know how to use a mouse, open and close programs, and type on a keyboard.

20. Know their address and phone number

It's important for your child to know their address and phone number before they start school.

This is in case they ever need to contact you (or the emergency services) while they're at school.

21. Have an understanding of money

Your child doesn't need to be a maths expert before starting school, but it is helpful if they have a basic understanding of money.

This includes being able to count coins and bills, and knowing the value of different denominations.

23. Know how to hold a pencil/pen properly

Another important skill for your child to have before starting school is knowing how to hold a pencil or pen properly.

This may seem like a small thing, but it's actually very important for their handwriting development.

Wrapping Up:

We’ve now looked at 23 things that your child should be able to do before they start school. 

While many of these things may seem like small or silly tasks, it's important for your child to have the basics down so that their transition into a new environment goes as smoothly and easily as possible. 

We hope you found some useful tips in this article about how you can prepare your children for starting school with basic cognitive neuroscience principles.

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