On Your Father's Side  

Get ready in Kindergarten

It's called a Kindergarten Readiness Checklist, and every parent should totally have one.

You can find the best ones on, like, Pinterest, so you know they’re completely legit.

We’ve made all our girls fill them out, and it’s made the hugest difference.

If your kids are headed into Kindergarten this fall without one … uh, well, it probably doesn’t matter. 

Your kids are probably, totally fine. 


But if you have three or four year olds in the house, just download one on your phone and watch your kids while you read the list.

Wait, maybe you have to read your phone while you watch your kids. 

Yeah, I think that’s how it goes.

I know for my girls, we checked off, like, half of the items without even preparing the first time.

Now, with our oldest in Grade 1, we routinely practise our checklist.

La-La is nailing everything now; Grade 2 is going to be a total breeze for her next year.

It’s go-time for Betty — our “middlest” daughter, nicknamed after her great grandmother. She’s heading into Kindergarten this fall.

Thankfully, she seems OK with two-a-day practices.

She’s a little logy by mid-afternoon, but that should go away by August.

Little Emmy is watching with piqued curiosity. She has two years until making the grade, and I have high hopes for her.

Plus, she’s the youngest and has that innate drive to destroy everything her older sisters have created before her.

Here’s how we attack our checklist:

Verbal Skills

  • Speaks clearly: Totally. Our kids have the best role model. Me, right! Totally.
  • Speaks in sentences: Yeah. Like, above.
  • Can express feelings: Just yesterday, Betty walked right up to me and said, “Daddy, can we stop now? I’m feeling frustrated by your penchant for living vicariously through your progeny.” Kids say the darnedest things!

Listening Skills

  • Listens to simple one- and two-step directions: We do way better. I told Emmy, if she wanted to ace Kindergarten, she’d have to seek out the classroom leader, befriend her, and then study her habits to learn her strengths and weaknesses. And that’s three steps. Emmy’s response? “Sir, yes, sir!” 

Reading Readiness

  • Listens well to stories: We’ve blasted through How to Win Friends and Influence People and we’re half-way through The Four-Hour Work Week.
  • Uses Imagination: Betty loves to tell stories. Last week, she said she imagined playing at the waterpark and going for ice cream. But she knows there’s time for that after grad school. She knows.


  • Uses Pictures to Communicate: Betty is always drawing pictures of sunsets. I asked her if that’s the view from the corner office of the penthouse suite. Because, if it’s not, she needs a better vision board.

Gross Motor Skills

  • Runs (with good stamina): Is nine laps of the Apple Bowl track in 12 minutes good stamina? Huh? No, of course not. We’re working on that.
  • Skips: My kids never skip out on anything. Ever.
  • Somersaults: They’re for wimps. We Parkour Roll.
  • Catches a ball with arms and body: La-La only uses her body to catch a ball when she’s blocking home plate because the left-fielder has come up short (again).

Fine Motor Skills

  • Uses tweezers: How’s any kid going to survive without simple tweezer skills? You can’t field dress a knife wound without them.
  • Completes a pattern: My girls can run the buttonhook, post, slant, and go patterns. They can also play quarterback.
  • Makes a pancake, snake, and ball from Plasticine: Well, duh. Wiring the electronic detonator, however, has proven tricky. But it’s a valuable survival skill, so we soldier on.


  • Counts objects with meaning to 10: A great way for this is taking stock of our bug-out shelter’s freeze-dried beef, pasta and bean containers every month and sorting them by expiry date.

Creative Arts

  • Draws lines and shapes: We love to draw lines in the sand. You won’t be pack leader without them.

Creative Drama

  • Takes on pretend roles: They love playing dress-up! I suggest they dress up like sons, but often they suggest princesses. Whatever. Kids.

I hope this helps. 

It’s only 17 items, and our Kindergarten Readiness Checklist actually has 67 items.

But if you think I’m going to divulge our strategies, you’re never going to win Kindergarten.


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About the Author

David Trifunov is a proud father, humble author and recovering journalist.

Trifunov and his wife, Erin, are raising three little girls in Kelowna and enjoying every second of the trials, triumphs and tribulations.

As a humble author, he has written three middle-grade books for publisher Formac-Lorimer.

To pay the bills so he can raise those kids and write those books, Trifunov is a journalist with 20 years of experience as a reporter and editor.

His parenting column will appear regularly. davidtrifunov.ca

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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