My firstborn just finished his first year of Kindergarten. There were so many emotions in the weeks leading up to him starting school and there is so much I learned throughout the year that I just have to share.
Before we even get into tips and tricks for starting school- if you haven’t taught your child to tie their shoes yet, use these last few weeks of August to work on that. It was something I completely forgot to do. My son went all through kindergarten without knowing how, and I think it was OK- but it is much easier if they can develop that skill early on.
Nesting. You will most likely go through a nesting period ironically similar to nesting before you welcomed your baby home years ago. I couldn’t believe this! I felt like the whole house needed to be immaculately cleaned and organized because I wouldn’t possibly have time once we start the school weekly grind. I mean what if I can’t find his socks and we are running late for school?
***Professional Mom tip- Keep 2-3 brand new packs of socks in the cupboard in the laundry room. This way when you can’t find a matching pair of clean socks- you just steal a pair from the new pack. Buy some warm socks for winter & ankle kind for spring to wear with shorts. *** Have I ever mentioned I am NOT a morning person.
Another thing I highly recommend doing while “nesting” is make some freezer meals! (tons of good recipes on Pinterest). I love making chicken dump meals. Super easy- just throw some raw chicken in a gallon Ziploc bag and add some marinades. Freeze away, let thaw when you are ready to use and dump into the crock pot! You can even buy pre made marinades from the store if you are in a pinch. I am so not organized enough to have all my favorite recipes handy but if you need help with this- I have done freezer meals several times I can dig up some of my favs for you or give you more tips and tricks. The time you spend prepping freezer meals is SO helpful during the busy after school days to come.
School Shopping- I must have read his school shopping list a few dozen times. I wanted to make sure he had everything he needed. My son has never went to daycare so maybe this was harder for me, but when it said to purchase a resting mat- I did tons of research. Will it be scary for him to rest at school? Will he be comfortable? Do I get the 1/2″ or the 1″. Oh no, this one only has 3 star reviews. Oh gosh but he needs a sheet for it. Could my Mom make one? Or do I just buy one? Amazon Prime it is. Too funny looking back. I highly recommend doing your school shopping online. I did some on Amazon and some on Target’s website. I think this depends on how many kids you have. My oldest is the oldest of 4 and my husband works long hours as a farmer, so for me, it is simply hard to get to the store. But it was nice to just go down the shopping list, type it into the search bar and away you go.
Here’s another tip on school shopping. Get good quality shoes but don’t break the bank. May rolled around for him and his shoes were getting too small, and he completely ripped a hole in the toe of the shoe. His backpack is also completely destroyed. I bought a really nice oversized one thinking he’d get 2-3 years out of it. No- he drags it a lot instead of wearing it correctly, ha!
Take some time and get yourself organized for the overwhelming amount of paperwork and projects that will start to come home. Oh my lanta. The weekly Newsletter was pinned to the fridge with a magnetic clip. His everyday worksheets, I would acknowledge that I saw him- tell him good job, and trash them. (There will be 3 more tomorrow, don’t worry!). He was upset at first, but I told him we only get to keep our favorites. Find a spot to display them if you can. I have a chicken wire memo board with clothespins. I love to display the ones that they put thought into or the ones that are seasonal. Once they come down from the memo board, they are either tossed, or placed into a box for keepsake. May seem like useless tips for now, but you will quickly have a huge stack on your kitchen counter and be overwhelmed.
Every school is different but for my son there were weekly things to remember. Wednesday was library day, Thursday was show & tell, and then he had quick little reading homework to hand in 1-2 times a week. You’ll get the hang of it. But when you first start reading everything there is to remember for certain days of the week it gets overwhelming at first. I checked the newsletter almost every day to try and keep on top of it.
Lunch $- because I’m a nerd, I went ahead and calculated how many school days there were and multiplied it by the cost per day of school lunch. You can then break this into a monthly or quarterly amount so that you can stay on top of their lunch account. I did this so that I didn’t have to be worried about it. I didn’t want to get a low lunch account balance notice after I just finished an Amazon Prime shopping binge. Better to be prepared, haha 🙂
One last thing, your child is going to come home and most likely be moody, hangry, wired up, or ready to wind down. Sibling rivalry also explodes after school at my house. Be prepared with after school snacks or an early supper. A Mom friend of mine gave me the neatest trick- make a snack tray and have it in the fridge or counter, ready to set on the kitchen table for snack times. She had mandarin oranges, crackers, ham, & cheese all cut up and on a little snack tray ready to go. Thought that was a great idea! Just do your thing, get in the grind and love on your little kindergartner. Because you will be AMAZED how much they learn in kindergarten. You will have a budding reader in no time, a child who can count money, a child who disappears to play independently and wind down after school.