6 Critical Skills for Preparing Your Toddler for Kindergarten

preparing your toddler for kindergartenPIN IT!This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Primrose Schools; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

With all the many different theories out there, preparing your toddler for kindergarten may seem worrisome. Are you teaching them the necessary skills they need? Are you teaching them the right way? Do they know what teamwork is? No need to worry just yet –, through daily encouragement and interactions, your toddler can be on their way to success.

The most important skills your toddler needs to know for kindergarten, and their future, are called executive function skills. These can be taught at home and in the classroom at a childcare provider like Primrose Schools, who has compiled a list of the executive function skills that can be taught at a young age to set your toddler up for the future. Check out their fun infographic here (or view it below) that summarizes everything for easy pinning and reading later.


Adaptability for your toddler may seem like an interesting skill to add to the list, but it’s absolutely necessary. Without throwing a fit, your toddler needs to be able to adapt to new situations and things that come their way. This can something as simple as different types of play.

With imaginative play, you can teach your little one to make new objects using ordinary things around the house. For instance, an ordinary paper towel roll can now become a telescope to spy on a sibling. This teaches your child to think outside the box and strengthens your child’s ability to invent objects on their own. Play dates also help strengthen adaptability. Putting your toddler in this type of scenario teaches them to adapt to their playmate’s actions.


You may think this is a task that’s too difficult for a toddler but it definitely isn’t! You can strengthen their teamwork skills in a group setting or at home. Ask them to help complete a chore with their older sibling, such as picking up toys. No siblings? Work together to build a block tower together or play I-Spy to find all the same colored objects. Teamwork is a necessary skill to thrive in a school setting as well as later on in life such as in a workplace setting.

Problem Solving

Can I just say it? Puzzles, puzzles, puzzles. They are the simplest way to teach your toddler how to problem solve. Max has a puzzle that we got him when he turned 1 and it took record-breaking time for him to solve it over and over again. Since he got the hang of it so easily, we had to move on to harder puzzles to keep growing his problem-solving skills. Another way to build problem-solving skills is to have them build a house for you. Then start asking questions like, “where would we keep our groceries?” and things of that nature for them to come up with a solution.

preparing your toddler for kindergartenPIN IT!Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is when your toddler receives information and determines. what the next best step is. You can teach your toddler by asking them open ended questions such as what would you do if blank happened? Give them an opportunity to explain themselves so they can put enough thought into it. For Max, I ask him how he feels about becoming a big brother soon. He likes to say he’s still the baby and that Evan is the big brother but that he wants to be a big brother too. You can also work role-play into this type of scenario. For example, you can ask them what could happen next in any order of events.


This is something I never really thought about a toddler needing. After some research, I realized it’s extremely important for your toddler to know this skill. The simplest form of teaching your child self-control is playing a game such as dance freeze. Have your toddler dance their wiggles out and when the music turns off they have to stay still. That’s it. It teaches your child self-control without you or them even realizing it.


Memory is something I need help with so preparing my toddler is a must! Having a strong working memory allows your toddler to put the information they’ve learned to work if needed. When I think of strengthening my toddler’s memory I go straight for memory board games. They are so easy to play and are simple enough for toddlers to grasp quickly. One I have just started to incorporate with Max is reading out loud. then I’ll ask him what his favorite part is. It’s as simple as that

Letting your toddler head off into the big world is tough enough. Teaching your little one these 6 executive function skills is the best way to prepare your toddler for kindergarten and their future years to come.

preparing your toddler for kindergartenPIN IT!Giveaway

In addition to Primrose Schools sharing their executive function skills with us, they have also decided to host a giveaway! Ten, yes, you read that right! Ten lucky winners will receive a Primrose Prize Pack consisting of a $250 Barnes & Noble gift card and 5 children’s books. Score!

All you have to do to enter is subscribe to their Pointers for Parents newsletter for a chance to win. Good luck to all!

  • Sarah Bailey

    These sound like some amazing tips to help your toddler get ready for their first taste of education.

  • Becca Talbot

    This is a fantastic giveaway for parents in the US – and the advice you’ve shared is perfect for those who are about to send their child to kindergarten for the first time x

  • Anvita Bhatnagar Mistry

    My son just started Kindergarten and I can tell these are definitely skills to work on.

  • Kim

    These are such great practical tips and what a great giveaway! These items would be so great for my grandson!

  • Leah

    These are all really great skills. The only other thing I would add, since most schools are now full day Kindergarten, kids need to be able to open their own things and be more independent in the cafeteria. I remember when my daughter was in kindergarten, they had parents volunteer for the first few weeks to help with this and it was shocking to me how many kids just sat there and waited until someone opened their food for them.

  • Cait

    what great tips ! i def need to keep these in mind when thinking of my little one and when she starts kindergarten next year!

  • Joely Smith

    All of your advice here on preparing a child for Kindergarten is so valuable and true! This is also a wonderful giveaway! Wow, 10 winners for such an awesome prize!!

  • Stacie @ Divine Lifestylest

    I love this! I prepared each of my kids for kindergarten before they actually started. It’s important to give them a head start!

  • Sapphire Kharyzma

    Kindergarten readiness is super important. I remember when I had to do this with my son. I truly loved your feature, you absolutely covered so great skills.

  • Heather Johnson

    Great list of necessary skills. One perk of homeschooling is that you can start your kiddos at various grades when they are ready. My toddler just started preschool while my 5-year-old is doing first and second grade work.

  • Marcie W.

    My nephew started kindergarten this year and struggles in more than one of these areas. I plan to share this important information with my sister, as these skills are all vital for a well rounded education.

  • Pat

    i do not have kids but all the skills that you have mentioned above are actually life time skills to achieve success in life and career, and what a better way to start at an early age!

  • Jocelyn @ Hip Mama's Place

    It’s been a long time since I sent a child to kindergarten! The boys are growing up too fast. And I completely agree with these. It’s good to prepare them mentally and emotionally for kindergarten.

  • Elizabeth L

    This is a great list of ways to prepare your toddler for kindergarten. Self control is totally a skill that should be taught as early as possible.

  • Cyn Gagen

    Having been Kindergarten teacher, I can say that these tips are spot on. The more learning opportunities your little one has at home, the better.

  • Kathy

    I think these are all some great skills for kids to learn. I can still remember when my girls were in Kindergarten. I now have a 1st grader and a 3rd grader.

  • Marielle Altenor

    My daughter turned two and I’m getting her some flash cards to teach her colors and shapes.

  • Our Family World

    I am happy that there is a school that teaches kids these important life skills. These are the foundation of learning. Academics can only teach you as much as what is written in the books but learning life skills will not only reinforce and put academic learning into practice, it will also ensure a better future for them.

  • Up Run for Life Healthy Lifestyle

    While these skills are necessary, I feel like kids today don’t have the same opportunities that I had. Kindergarten was more about social interaction and learning site words. Now kids are expected to know their Abcs, count to 10 minimum, write their name at least, and be on the verge of reading.

    My youngest adapted well to kindergarten and he was reading simple books by the end of the year. He is in 1st grade and now he gets number grades.

  • Adaleta

    Such a big time in a kids life, going to kindergarten! These are really great tips!

  • Lynndee

    My son is now a teen so been there, done that, so to speak. And I must say, you’ve shared such great tips.

  • Rebecca Swenor

    These are all skills your toddler should have before heading to kindergarten. It is so important that they learn teamwork and that they can problem solve I believe. Children when they are little tend to help each other out. Thanks for sharing the information.

  • Nina

    Critical thinking is very important. The earlier you can teach it, the better. I also think puzzles are wonderful for kids!