First off, none of the advice I received (like, not ONE comment) was academic-based. No one cares if your kid can write their name, recite their ABCs, or memorize a times table. What’s most important for Kindie-going kids is that they can do basic tasks independently. In the lead-up to September practice the basics with them: opening and closing their backpack, lunch box, and water bottle. Going to the bathroom solo. Putting on and removing their coat and shoes without assistance from a teacher. If you’re planning to send your kids in lace-up shoes or with an elaborate bento box that they can’t open themselves then it’s time to find some new functional accessories for them that will help them start kindergarten with confidence.
Your Best Kindie Advice
- Label everything, but especially coats, sweaters, gloves, hats, and other items that kids take off frequently when they get too warm. Also label their accessories – lunch box, water bottle, etc. Teachers can’t send your missing items home with your kids if they don’t know who they belong to!
- No tiny backpacks! They’re cute but your child’s backpack needs to fit a large library book. Don’t get one with 25 pockets because it’ll just weigh them down. Keep it simple and basic.
- Keep your evenings free for the first few months; kids come home from school exhausted and it might be too much for them in the beginning.
- If your child takes a long time to eat practice setting a timer for lunch and having them finish their food in 12-15 minutes (or whatever the allotted time is at your school). One of the most common complaints about elementary school is that there isn’t enough time for the kids to eat.
- If your child is neuro-diverse, let the teachers know all relevant information ahead of time so that not just your child but his teacher also feels prepared for the start of school. Consider noise-cancelling earmuffs for kids with noise sensitivities who quickly become overstimulated.
- Practice good hand-washing and hygiene! They’ll be using these skills a lot.
Your Best Kindie Purchases
- a good quality backpack that will last
- functional lunch box that a child can open and close on their own (You Recommend: YumBox, LunchBots)
- good quality raincoat and outdoor gear (especially here in the PNW!)
- supplies that are functional and that a child can easily operate rather than “the cute, cheap shit” haha. Your words, not mine!
- name labels (you recommend: Oliver’s Labels)
- shoes that they can put on themselves – no converse, no laces! (You recommend: HeyFolks)
- water bottle with a straw that closes to hide germs (You recommend: Yeti Jr)
Best School Lunch Ideas
- so many of you said that charcuterie style food is key: have everything unwrapped and ready to eat to give your kid as much time as possible to eat lunch. Peel and slice fruit, unwrap cheese, open all packages.
- A few of you mentioned @kids.eat.in.color on Instagram as a great resource for ideas
- Your ideas: sandwiches cut with a cookie cutter, quesadilla, tortellini, perogies, cinnamon raisin bread, hard boiled egg, pizza buns, fruit, pita with hummus, bagels with cream cheese, apple sauce pouches, muffins, tortilla roll-ups cut like sushi, small wraps with guac, mini pretzels. There were also a LOT of votes for the good old fashioned PB&J but many classrooms are a nut-free zone so be aware of your school’s policy before sending.
Good luck to all starting Kindie this September and all the kids going back to school in the higher grades! If you have more advice drop it in the comments so we can all be as prepared as possible. But at the end of the day, these kids are gonna have fun and do so well, I just know it.