Preschool Readiness Checklist for Your Toddler

Preschool Readiness Checklist for Your Toddler

A little kid playing with toys and smiling. The text reads " Preschool Readiness Checklist for Your Toddler"

Preschool is one of the most important events in your young child’s life. It is oftentimes the first time they have been away from their parents or family for an extended period and the first time they socialize with a large group of their peers.  


However, it can also be a difficult time for both children and parents or caregivers, especially during the initial few weeks of separation. Many parents wonder how to best prepare a young child for preschool.  


In this post, we will explain the importance of preschool readiness, go over common preschool readiness skills, and give you a quick preschool readiness checklist.  


Building Essential Skills for Preschool 


Before your child is ready for preschool, there are a few essential skills they must know to thrive. Regular activities for preschool readiness are essential. Your child needs basic communication skills, sensory processing skills, and social skills to function without the help of their caregiver.  


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Your child should enter preschool with modest skills in these areas, and attending preschool will help provide them with the foundation they need to thrive later in life.  


Below is a list of some of the building blocks necessary to develop preschool readiness. 


  • Self-regulation. The ability to obtain, maintain, and change emotion, behavior, attention, and activity level appropriate for a task or situation. In essence, it is the ability to think before acting.

  • Sensory processing. Accurate processing of sensory information in the environment as well as in one’s own body affects attention, behavior, and learning. It is the way the brain receives, organizes and responds to sensory input, in order to behave in a consistent and meaningful way. 

  • Receptive language (or understanding). Comprehension and understanding of spoken language (vocabulary, instructions, questions, concepts) during group instructions from an adult or peer interaction.

  • Expressive language (or using language). Forming sentences featuring age-appropriate grammar (e.g., using pronouns ‘he/she’ correctly), word order, specific vocabulary, and telling simple stories.

  • Articulation. The ability to pronounce individual sounds in words and sentences.

  • Executive Functioning. Higher-order reasoning and thinking skills (e.g., working out how to make buildings out of blocks, collecting the proper materials, and overcoming obstacles).

  • Emotional development/regulation. The ability to perceive emotion, integrate emotions into thoughts, understand emotions, and manage emotions. 

  • Social skills. The ability to engage in interactions with others (either verbally or non-verbally), to compromise with others, and to be able to recognize and follow social norms.

  • Planning and sequencing. The ability to perform a multi-step task/activity to achieve a pre-planned result. 


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A basic foundation of these skills is essential for young children before they begin preschool, and a preschool setting helps children improve these skills for success later in life.  


Nurturing a Positive Preschool Experience 


Not every child has grasped the skills listed above and their parents wonder how they can prepare their young children for preschool. Fortunately, some activities can be practiced at home to improve preschool readiness.  


Helping toddlers get ready for preschool is made simple with this preschool readiness checklist.  


  • Parenting expectations. Slowly increase the responsibilities of the child around self-care tasks like dressing, toileting, eating, and getting ready to go out of the house.

  • Social skills. Encourage your child to form relationships with new children of a similar age.

  • Reading Books. Read books along with your child to prepare them for sitting and listening to stories as a group. Read the words aloud and help the child follow along with the story.

  • Early preparation. Prepare your child for preschool around the age of 3 by talking about what they can expect from preschool, what polite and appropriate behavior looks like, and what kinds of activities they can expect.

  • Collaboration. Talk with your child’s educators or childcare professionals to identify any signs of deficit or slow development so you can help your child get ready for preschool.

  • Visual strategies. Use images and visuals to help your child understand their daily routine both at home and at preschool. For example, you might try using a picture calendar or schedule. 

  • Outings. Go to places like the library, zoo, mall, post office, and other public places to help your child understand appropriate behavior in busy environments. 

  • Fine motor skills. This is an area that will be a major focus in preschool, so developing these skills will enable your child to participate in activities much more easily and willingly. Help your child prepare for physical activities they’ll experience in preschool by helping them develop fine motor skills at home, by handling objects and developing the muscles in their hands and arms.  


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You can use these activities to help your child get ready for preschool. Perform tasks related to each category regularly, and in an age-appropriate way, will ensure that your child is ready for preschool.  


Preschool Readiness with Early Learning Programs from Child Focus 


Preparing your child for preschool is not always easy. It takes consistent practice and understanding of the skills required for success.  


Not every early learning or preschool environment is created equal. At Child Focus, we offer the very best early learning program in Southern Ohio with our Head Start Program. We proudly serve children and families throughout Clermont County.  


If you have a child ages birth to five years-old, then it is time to contact Child Focus about our Head Start and Early Head Start program today


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