Your child is starting kindergarten this fall! Hooray! Right? Beginning kindergarten can be one of the most exciting moments in the life of both kids and parents, but it can also be one of the scariest.
A go-to guide for kindergarten parents
We promise that we'll try to make life as a new kinder-mom as easy as possible!
Watch the clock
The best way to make sure your new kindergartener gets his or her school career started is by being on time to school each morning. If your child arrives to school late, it makes it harder for her to transition into the classroom. Same goes for being on time to pick her up from school! Set a reoccurring alarm on your phone so that you always leave home or work in time to avoid "mom is late" anxiety.
Lunch time woes
Moms of kindergarteners will tell you — even the kids who can plow through a stack of pancakes in the blink of an eye at home will barely touch their lunch for that first year. In many schools, recess follows lunch time and really, a PB&J can never stand up to the monkey bars. The lesson? Fill them up at breakfast time and be prepared with a healthy and hearty after-school snack.
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Go for full-day
So many schools offer both full- and half-day kindergarten programs now. While there are certainly reasons why you may choose half-day kindergarten for your child, if your school has a program where half-day and full-day kindergarteners are in the same classroom together, the children who are together for the entire day seem to form a stronger bond, leaving the half-day kids feeling a bit disconnected. Before you decide, talk to other parents at the school and a kindergarten teacher, if you can.
Lace-free shoes make teachers happy
Still learning to perfect that double-knot? Do your child's kindergarten teacher a favor — if your kiddo is still learning to tie her shoes, send her to school with lace-free shoes or shoes that have laces that don't need to be tied.
Take advantage of meet and greets
Those late summer meet and greets and kindergarten play dates are not just fun, they are a great way for both you and your upcoming kindergartener to meet new friends, find familiar faces and sometimes you even get the chance to meet your teacher!
Make friends with a veteran mom
You can read a million lists, books and articles about preparing for kindergarten, but truly, the best resource you have is another mom. Find a mom friend in your neighborhood that goes to the same school and can show you the ropes. It's invaluable to have someone you can ask all those silly questions that you don't want to bring up to your child's teacher — trust us, you'll have some!
Label, label, label
Add a permanent fabric marker to your back-to-school shopping list! Every kindergartener loses something or another over the course of the school year — backpacks, lunch boxes, sweaters, coats — take a look at the school's lost and found around the holidays as proof! Put his name on everything that goes to school so that it can easily find its way back to your kindergartener.
Fort Knox has nothing on them
"What did you do at school today?" Every single mom asks after the first day of school. "Nothing," replies every single kindergartener. It's like they can sense how much we're dying to know about what they did all day long — Mommy Torture 101 (they teach it after recess.)! Instead of asking an open-ended question that is sure to get you a close-ended answer, try first-day-of-school questions such as, "Who did you sit next to at lunch?"
Learn the drop-and-dash
It's rule No. 1 in the kindergarten parent handbook — don't linger. We know you want to stay and hang out and see how your child settles in, but it's best if you don't. Get your child in the door, set up with a new friend and a new puzzle, make sure your child's new teacher knows your child is there and then book it! Lingering mommies make for tearful kindergarteners.
Kill the mommy expectations
Starting kindergarten is such a milestone in the life of a mom — the first true test of how you've done as a mother, sending your baby off into the "real world." But, kindergarten is not all sing-a-longs and smiles and you need to keep your expectations realistic for your new student. Make sure you try to look at kindergarten through the eyes of your child and help him have the best kinder-experience he can have and he wants to have — not what you want him to have.
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