Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Ready for Kindergarten?

Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: I just met with my daughter's preschool teacher to discuss kindergarten readiness. She is definitely at or above the intellectual level needed for kindergarten, but emotionally, she needs to mature. She's a perfectionist and explodes or cries if she doesn't get it right the first time. She is already very hesitant to try something new if it looks "too hard." Do you have any suggestions on how we can build her self-esteem?

A: Self-esteem increases as children experience success. Help your daughter feel successful in her attempts to do things, even if the results are not perfect. Developing self-control should be an important part of her success.

Talk with the teacher about reinforcing your daughter's attempts at self-control. If your daughter "explodes" when she makes a mistake, ask the teacher to let her sit in time-out for five minutes or until she is back in control. If your daughter cries, the teacher can explain that she will talk to your daughter when she is calm. The awareness of the other children can also serve as a deterrent to your daughter's poor behavior.

Be sure to provide opportunities for your daughter to attempt new things successfully, both at school and in other settings. At the same time you can model how to handle problems appropriately: If you take her bowling, show her your reaction when you roll a gutter ball; if you are cooking a meal, show her your reaction when you spill something or make a mistake.

If you are concerned that your daughter may need additional help with her perfectionism and self-control issues, your pediatrician can refer you to a therapist in your community.

More on: Expert Advice

Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


6 Tips to Help Your Marriage Survive a New Baby
When the going gets tough, follow these tips to help your marriage during the stressful newborn months.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

15 Not-So-Scary Halloween Movies for Kids
Halloween doesn’t always have to be a fright. Take the scare-factor down a notch by watching one of these not-too-scary Halloween movies for kids .

Ready for Kindergarten?
Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks