It’s almost time for the first day of Kindergarten.
Eek! Kindergarten! How did time fly so quickly that it is already time to begin thinking about the first day of Kindergarten?
Just yesterday, I was changing diapers and trying to manage toddlers at home. God speed, and now my middle is off to Kindergarten.
As I prepare my six-year-old for the big doors of elementary, I keep a few things in mind. As a former educator and parent of a rising Kindergartener, I also have a few tips to pass along with you to help guide you to a successful first day back to school.
Kindergarten is a huge milestone, and although I’d like time to slow down, I also know my middle child is ready to dive all in. So here we are!
Kindergarten, we’ve got this!
RELATED: What should a five-year-old know before Kindergarten? Start here with our activity cards.
How to prepare a child for the first day of Kindergarten.
Inside this post will share everything I have learned over the years toward a successful first day.
- Preregister your Kindergartener over summer vacation.
- Attend Open House.
- Read books to create conversation about school.
- Trust that the teacher will explain.
- Celebrate the first day of Kindergarten.
RELATED: After mid-year, head here for hands-on Kindergarten activities!
1. Preregister Your Kindergartener During Summer Vacation
Registering your five or six-year-old ahead of time will ensure that your child is placed in a Kindergarten classroom before the first day of school. A few team members at the school are working ahead of time placing students into the classes.
Registering ahead of time will ensure the teacher has your child’s name on their classroom roster before the first day.
PRO TIP: Does your child go by a name other than what is on their birth certificate? Send the school a note ahead of time letting them know so the teacher can write the correct name on the desk.
Remember, teachers write your child’s name 30 plus times before the first day of school if they are on their roster. This eliminates last-minute shuffling for both you and the KIndergarten teacher.
By the time your child walks in for the first time, the teacher will expect them! Your child will also feel included by seeing their name on a coat hook, table, folder, and more.
2. Attend Open House
Open house usually occurs the week before the first day of school. If your school hosts an open house, it is critical for a smooth transition on the first day of school.
If there is no open house this year, try finding a school map ahead of time or find a neighbor to talk with that is going in first to share their experience.
The open house allows your child to meet the teacher, visit the classroom, and walk the halls. Parents can also walk their children throughout the building.
Here are a few suggestions on what to seek out at the open house:
- Principal – share the principal’s name with your child
- Vice-principal – share the VP name with your child
- Custodial staff
- Main office
- Media center
Parents also take home lots of paperwork to complete on or after the open house. – Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
This paperwork will help the teacher understand emergency contact information and some questions to understand your child better. These papers can be a drag to fill out but serve a great purpose!
An open house may also have the bus there for Kindergarten families. The AAP wrote an article about bullying on the school bus.
3. Read books to generate conversations about the first day of Kindergarten
Read books about the first day. This will give your child visuals and help prepare them for standard school procedures. A large part of Kindergarten is social interactions and making friends.
Below are a few of our favorite books to help generate conversations and minimize worries.
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First Day Jitters
All are Welcome
- Miss. Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten
- Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun
But that’s not all! Here is our list of 40 books for back-to-school!
4. Trust that the teacher will explain it all.
I know; this sounds like an obvious one.
Yet as a mom with a rising Kindergartener, there will be a part of my day that I will spring up and worry I forgot to tell my child the snack was in their backpack or that the blue folder needs to go on the teacher’s desk.
I must remind myself that teachers have it covered. They are great at what they do!
The first week of school is about routines, supplies, and what to expect. You will be surprised how quickly five and six-year-olds catch on to the new routine. Children also get a chance to play the fun first day of school activities to get to know their new friends.
Your confidence in the teacher will help your child feel secure as you drop them off. It’s helpful to refer to the teacher by name and learn the names of their classmates. – Your child will enjoy feeling like you are both in this together.
Say goodbye at the door and assure your child that you will be back when the school day is over. Do not sneak out. This will cause more anxiety. Allow the teacher to gently guide your child to their seat as you wave or blow a kiss goodbye.
Most children adjust quickly once their parents leave.
If you feel anxious about this step, leave your email or phone number on a sticky note on the teacher’s desk. Ask them to send you a quick message if things haven’t calmed down.
This first day of school can be a big day for both the child and the parent!
It’s okay if you also want to have a good cry in your car.
The first day of school may feel difficult and different, but pretty soon, you will be headed in as a mystery reader, and I have the best Kindergarten read-aloud here to get you started!
What to pack on the first day of Kindergarten
- School supplies
- Water bottle
- Emergency contact information on backpack
- Label backpack, lunchbox, and accessories
- Paperwork from open house
This is a great time to role-play how to open food containers and open water bottles at home. Just like in the classroom, cafeteria helpers assist our Kindergarteners.
Share with your child, so they can raise thier hands for help when needed.
RELATED: I also like to bring in a few surprise supplies for the teacher.
5. Celebrate the First Day
My sister-in-law sends her children off on their first day in the sweetest way.
She cuts a watermelon into the letter of the grade they are going into and decorates special wooden letters for them to hold. You can see them beaming with pride.
We can also celebrate the first day of school with a sign.
Here is the sign and marker we bought for the first day of school.
Beth! These are great tips for transitioning your preschooler to kindergarten! I love your tip about not sneaking away. And now I have more books to add to my list.
Zoe Campos says
Thanks for your tip about leaving my email and number with my child’s teacher so they can easily contact me just in case something happens. I’m a bit hesitant about letting my daughter enroll in an early learning school, but my husband persuaded me and told me that it’s about time that we let her explore. I just hope that we’ll be able to find an educational facility that will be able to adjust to her needs as a 4-year-old.