29 Things Parents do that Predict School Readiness

A group of researchers developed a checklist of 29 developmentally supportive things parents do that predict school readiness in their children. These things predict one or more of the following outcomes when children begin kindergarten: 

Cognitive skills (problem solving, reasoning, science, and math readiness)

Vocabulary (word knowledge, language ability)

Literacy skills (recognizing letters, linking speech sounds to letters, recognizing text)

Social skills (emotion regulation, low rates of aggression)

A note for the parents

Very few parents do ALL of these things, but all parents do some of these things. There are two main things I want you to remember when reading over this list. Number 1- celebrate the things you already do, and build upon your natural strengths. One of the most powerful ways to become the parent you want to be is to notice how you are doing good and celebrate that. When you feel good about yourself, you will be able to continue building on your strengths and work on building new skills without getting discouraged. Number 2- rather than feeling discouraged at so many things you should be doing, choose just one thing to try. When you feel ready to try adding something new, just pick one thing and work on that. Do not try being perfect at all 29 things all at once. 

School Readiness

School readiness is a helpful measure- but it’s definitely not everything. While school readiness is a good way for researchers to study and learn about child development, there is so much more to parenting and to raising children than just school readiness. To read more about school readiness, check out this article.

29 things parents do that predict school readiness

So here are the 29 things parents do that predict school readiness:

  1. Speak warmly
  2. Smile at child
  3. Praise child
  4. Stay physically close to child
  5. Say positive things to child
  6. Interact in positive ways with child
  7. Show emotional warmth
  8. Pay attention to what child is doing
  9. Change activities to meet child’s interests or needs
  10. Be flexible when child changes interests
  11. Follow what child is trying to do
  12. Respond to child’s emotions
  13. Look at child when child talks or makes sounds
  14. Reply to child’s words or sounds
  15. Wait for child’s response after making a suggestion
  16. Encourage child to do things with toys
  17. Support child’s choices
  18. Help child do things on his or her own
  19. Verbally encourage child’s efforts
  20. Offer suggestions to help child
  21. Show enthusiasm about what child does
  22. Explain reasons for something to child
  23. Suggest activities to build on what child is doing
  24. Repeat or expand child’s words or sounds
  25. Label objects or actions for child
  26. Engage in pretend play with child
  27. Do activities in a sequence of steps
  28. Talk about characteristics of objects
  29. Ask child for information

I hope that this list encourages you and helps you discover the kind of parent you want to be.

Check out these other resources:

3 Ways to Support Literacy in your Home

6 Tips for Making Reading Fun

Social Emotional Development

6 Ways to Build Social Emotional Skills

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