Hanging out with kindergarteners is loving and joyful. We all have good days, bad days, and everything in between. When you walk into a class full of 4, 5, and the odd 3 year old, your unhappiness will be checked at the door because you'll be welcomed with big hugs and smiles from lots of wee ones.
Starting Kindergarten is a big deal. If your little one is starting school this year, you may be feeling a little bit overwhelmed (naturally, this is a big step!). and you may be a touch unsure about what they really need. No, your newly-minted Kindergartener doesn’t need a heck of a lot, but there are a few things that will help them start the year off successfully.
Here’s what veteran folks and educators tell us are the only things you really need before your little one heads to class (sniff).
1. A Large Backpack
Yes, they’re still so wee, but your kiddo does need to graduate from the mini-backpack they wore to daycare. They will be sent calendar sheets, newsletters, and permission forms in letter-sized folders. Make a production of shopping for a new big-kid backpack together, and be sure it can hold a lunch bag, water bottle, and change of clothes.
Labels for Everything
School hallways and playgrounds can be like black holes for everything from water bottles to raincoats. One of our kids misplaced two pairs of orange snow pants in one winter. It’s well worth the money to order custom labels that go on shoes, lunch containers, clothing, and backpacks.
3. A Good Lunch Bag
While it may be fun to have a super cute one, keep in mind that younger kids might lose lunch bags during the school year. You could buy two affordable ones for school when one is MIA or just too caked in banana to face. Or, if you have older kids who are less likely to lose something as big as a lunch bag, you may want to invest in one that’s a bit pricier but could last for several years.
4. Containers They Can Open
Take our word for it. When starting Kindergarten, your kids—and their educators—will be glad you bought lunch containers they can manage on their own. Tip: Have a trial run before school starts.
5. A Leak-Proof Water Bottle
Chances are good that the water fountain is not going to be right outside the kindergarten door. Get a couple of sturdy water bottles in a kid-appropriate size.
6. Extra Clothes in a labelled Bag
Accidents happen, and there’s nothing kindergarten educators (there are usually two adults in a classroom) want to stress more than just how important it is that you send a full set of extra clothes (including socks for puddle-related incidents) and then keep it replenished and updated seasonally as needed.
7. Indoor Shoes and Gym Shoes
Your kids will need to change out of their outdoor boots or shoes and into an indoor pair each and every morning, as well as at recess, lunchtime, and after school. So you’ll want to be sure that they’re easy for your little one to get on and off. You’ll also want to make sure they have a pair of shoes that are suitable for all the running around they’ll do in gym class.
8. Immunization Records
You were probably asked for it at registration time, but if you haven’t shared your child’s updated vaccination record, you’ll want to track that down before the first day of school.
9. Develop Independeance at Home
Kindergarten is a great time for weaning off assistance in everyday routines that kids can perform themselves. Encourage and practice with your child to dress themselves, take their coat on and off and hang it up, use the bathroom without assistance, wash their hands without constant reminders, and put on their own shoes. Less time to dress 25 kids means more fun in the classroom. These skills will take them from the classroom to the lunchroom and beyond.