If Your Kid Can't Ace This Kindergarten Checklist, You're Still Not a Bad Parent

A dad posted his kid's pre-kindergarten checklist on Reddit for a quick LOL for what he figured was a typo. Instead he opened up an emotional discussion among parents worried they're failing. Are you a bad parent because your kid can't do all the things on a kindergarten readiness checklist? Hell no.  


Lucas Hatcher, according to Today, is the Reddit user who posted a picture of a list from his son's kindergarten teacher titled, "Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten?" Hatcher thought it was funny that the list included "Identify 30+ letters" since there are only 26 letters in the English alphabet. But instead of striking a quickie funny note on Reddit, commenters opened up a whole big discussion about whether the list was a reasonable expectation for 5-year-olds.

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For the record, the extra letters the teacher is referring to account for both upper and lower case. Also, Hatcher -- who says his son meets all of these requirements -- misspelled "kindergarten" in his post, so, you know, there's that.

The first item is "write their name" followed by "hold a pencil the correct way" and includes other items from identifying numbers, shapes, and colors to counting to 10.

Here's the image posted by Hatcher with the title, "I have failed to prepare my son for Kintergarden [sic]":

I have failed to prepare my son for Kintergarden.

The post sparked loads of comments, including everything from "I thought the point of kindergarten was to teach kids this stuff" to this piece of judgy advice below, in which the commenter condemns kids who can't check all of these boxes to a life of poverty and failure: 

Noooooo! Most of this stuff needs to be taught well before kindergarten. If kids wait until the age of 5 to develop stuff like the basic motor skills of 'holding a crayon', they're going to be well behind the curve in development. And if they can't say their own name by 5? Ouch.

Interestingly, many of these are strong predictors of success later in life. There are very strong correlations between basic skills like this entering kindergarten and how much money people are making 30 years later.

Please, can we just stop?

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This is fresh for me since I just sent my kid to first grade worried she's not adequately prepared. I hope she is.

We read at night, work on our letters ... heck, my mom is a former English teacher with a specialty in teaching kids to read. My daughter gets most of it. Not all, but most. And I'm fine with that.

It's not that she's not bright -- she's just busy with other stuff. She gets bored and distracted doing writing drills, but instead prefers to make up wild, detailed adventures for her dolls that last hours. She swims like a fish, is social and fun, and has a vocabulary I would put up against any other kid around her age. So if she doesn't exactly nail every single benchmark assigned, I'm just not going to sweat it. My primary goal is making sure she likes to go to school -- not that she's the most highly trainable monkey in the zoo.

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The parents I worry about are the ones working more than they wish they had to, who are overscheduled and overtired, and who feel guilty and horrible most of the time. This stupid list is just another list of ways they're failing their kids. And let's keep it real, kindergarteners' abilities to do these things have almost nothing to do with their own abilities and everything to do with their parents' time and interest in drilling it into them. And frankly, I just think the few, precious moments parents have with their kids after a long day shouldn't always be filled with fighting over how they hold a pencil. There are other things that are important too.

So, yes, there are kids who fit neatly into the educational system's benchmark box. Parents, too. And then there are others who learn different things at different times. And while we'd all like our kids to ace every test, let's remember we're raising people. Complicated individuals. And I refuse to believe how they hold scissors has anything to do with their future success.


Image via Imgur

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