Now that I’ve been at this whole “parent of a school-age kid” thing for a couple of years now, I feel like I know everything there is to know about sending kids to school.
Haha! No, just kidding, I’m still muddling though this just like everyone else. I DO know a few things that might come in handy for the newbie parents out there though.
A parent I know whose daughter is starting kindergarten next week asked me for my advice as a parent who’s been there, done that, and I (surprisingly) had some really helpful tips for her. At least, she told me they were helpful, and I certainly hope they are.
So here I share with you, some things I learned as the mother of a newbie kindergartener.
- Be prepared to spend a ton of money on shoes. You’ll need a pair of outdoor shoes and a pair of indoor shoes for each kid. I was extra lucky last year, the peanut’s after-school program was at a different facility so he needed a third pair of shoes (indoor) for that location as well.
Yes, I purchased 5 new pairs of running shoes for my kids last year during BTS season.
I only have 2 kids.
- Be prepared to buy replacement shoes either in the dead of winter after you’ve been to the school’s winter concert and spy the ragged pair of runners in your kid’s cubbie hole that they outgrew a month ago and didn’t tell you so they’ve been walking around school with their big toe peeking out, or one month before school ends, when summer, sandals, and flip-flop season is just around the corner.
- If your child has been in daycare up to this point, and you’ve been receiving extensive daily reports on how their day went, don’t count on getting any kind of news of daily activity once your kid starts school. Get into the habit of asking your kid how their day went, what they did, if they made any new friends, if they learned anything interesting, and be prepared for a lot of “I don’t know” and “I don’t remember” answers from your kid. And if they made a new friend, they won’t remember their friend’s name. Don’t worry though, you’ll have a chance to find out how your child is doing a the parent-teacher conferences. Always go, even if your kid is doing well in school.
- In that same vein, join your school’s parent council. It’s an easy way to find out what is going on in the school. From budgets to construction and repairs, to changes in staffing. All things are discussed. And you can make friends with the principal which is always a good thing.
- For little kids who will be staying at school for lunch every day, make sure they can open and close their various lunch containers on their own. In school lunchrooms there’s a good chance that there won’t be an adult handy every day to help your child open their snack or lunch containers. Make sure they practice at home before school starts, or buy them containers with lids that have flip-up latches. Easy for tiny fingers to handle. Also, make sure your child knows how to open and close their own water bottles, if they’ll be using them, with a special focus on ensuring they know how to close them, or that open bottle of half-drunk water will flood the bottom of their back pack by the end of the day. True story.
- Have at least one full spare lunch kit (lunch bag, water bottle, food & snack containers) on hand for when your kid forgets his lunch bag at school. Otherwise you’ll be tossing your kids lunch in a plastic grocery bag until they bring theirs home again.
There you have it, just a few little tidbits to help you if you’re on your way to starting your journey as the parent of a new kindergartener.