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What should my child know before preschool: Checklist

Reading time: 5 minutes


When your child starts preschool, you want them to be prepared for the many new experiences and challenges that lie ahead. The first few years of pre-school can be a time when children become more independent and start to understand some of their unique abilities.

Your child should be able to follow basic directions

teaching child basic directions
Remember, preschool is the time for kids to learn basic social skills, so this is an important part of their education. The best way to help your child master this skill is by practicing it at home. You might start with asking your child questions like: "Can you sit down on the couch?" or "Do you want me to put your shoes on?" Give them simple directions and let them try following them independently. If they have trouble doing so, guide them through it instead of doing it yourself. In addition, ask other adults in your life (aunts, uncles and grandparents) who visit often if they can give your children instructions during playtime or when they're interacting socially at home; if possible teach children how to follow instructions from these people as well!

Your child should be able to recognize colors

kid learning colors
You can teach your child about colors by:
- naming the color of objects, such as "the tree is green" or "the chair is red."
- using colored stickers to make pictures and patterns on a piece of paper
- reading books that feature different colors, highlighting each one as you go. For example, if there's a picture of four apples with orange skins and green leaves, highlight each apple with an orange marker while saying aloud "apple" three times (once for each apple). Then do the same thing with the leaves and say "green leaf." This repetition helps children learn how words map onto objects they see in their daily lives.
You can read this interesting article, about how to teach your child to identify colors correctly.

Your child should be able to identify some letter shapes and sounds

kid learning shapes and letter
To start, your child should know the names of some letters and be able to identify them by sight. For example, he or she should be able to recognize a letter when it’s written in a different font or size than usual—even if it’s upside down!
Your child should also know what sounds each letter makes when it’s spoken out loud—and that these sounds are written on top of each letter. For example, “M” always makes an “mmm-mmhmmmmmmm” sound at the beginning of words like “mommy.” This is true regardless of where this word is placed within a sentence—a concept called positional value that's important for preschoolers to grasp as they begin learning how to read and write!

Your child should be able to use scissors safely and accurately

kid learning how to safely use scissors
Just as you teach your child how to use a knife and fork, it's important that they learn how to safely use scissors. Scissors are sharp and can be dangerous if used incorrectly. But when used properly, they're an essential tool for cutting paper and other materials. Your child should know:
- Scissors are not toys! They must be treated like any other dangerous object in your home—kept out of reach, examined carefully before use, and used only with adult supervision.
- Only cut on paper or cardboard—never on skin or the furniture! If you do happen to see a nick on your child's finger after using scissors (or any other sharp object), apply pressure with a clean cloth until the bleeding stops; then clean the wound with warm water and soap as soon as possible before applying antibiotic ointment for protection against infection.

Your child should know how to put on a coat and shoes

easiest way to teach kid how to put on a coat
The ability to put on their shoes is a key skill that kids need before starting preschool. They should be able to do this independently, without assistance from you or another adult.
Your child should also have the ability to put on their coat and other outer layers of clothing as well. Your child may still need help with these items once they are out of diapers, but they should be able to do it themselves when they get older so that you can spend time focusing on other things.

Your child should know their phone number and address

Your child should know their phone number and address.
They should also be able to identify the names of their parents or guardians, as well as how to dial 911.
In addition, your child should know what to do in an emergency if you aren't around.


The above checklist is a great way to prepare your child for preschool. By teaching them these basic skills, you are setting them up for success and helping them succeed in their academic career.