Kindie Survival 101: Bits & Pieces

School starts in just over a week here in Canada, and I hope you enjoyed this series that I’ve whipped together for you. There were a lot of points that weren’t covered, so I thought I’d put those thoughts here to cover all the random bits.

Clothing

You know that saying, “Dress for success”? While you may already be knee-deep in back to school shopping it’s important to do the same when you send your child off to school.  At kindergarten age, many clothing options are still fairly child-friendly and feature snaps instead of buttons, Velcro instead of laces, etc. It’s important to remember that while your child’s teacher can help out when they can with certain things, it’s hard for them to help out with shoes, coats, etc. If your child hasn’t figured out how to tie their shoes yet, consider velcro or slip-on ones.

Another brilliant thing that our teacher had us parents do was to keep a full spare change of clothes in our child’s locker for any accidents that may occur. I have vidid memories of me having to call my mom while she was at work to bring me dry clothes because of a puddle-jumping war and her not being impressed, so by having that spare set really saved everyone a lot of time and money.

Also – label EVERYTHING. Hats, mitts, jackets, sweaters, shoes … whatever might get taken off needs to be labelled in the event that something gets lost or mixed up. Labels are generally inexpensive and there are both iron-on and stick-on options.

One more thing … Want to avoid the daily battle of what to wear? Give them a choice of a couple of options, that way they feel like they’re wearing what they want without being impractical. Picking between Shirt A or B and Pants A or B is a lot easier than letting them choose from their whole closet.

Playground Apprehensions

When Isla first started school I was damn certain that Isla was going to accidentally throw herself off the top of the jungle gym and that she’d wind up with a concussion. While we had visited the playground a small handful of times before her starting school, I was still so nervous during that first day of minimally-supervised playtime.

Not wanting to be “that” person sitting my my car across the street from the playground and watching my kid play, I just trusted that she would know her limits and not do anything silly. Thankfully, I never got a call home that she had hurt herself and needed medical attention, and by the end of the school year she was a playground master and needed no assistance on anything. (Under-duck pushes were still requested regularly on the swings though!)

Friendships

If there was one rule that I tried to instil in Isla’s head, it was to be kind to everyone. I would tell her that she didn’t have to necessarily be friends and play with everyone, but it was important to be nice and kind to everyone. Teaching that it’s okay to say “No thank you” to playing with someone without being mean is a difficult thing to do; I didn’t want her to become a bully, but I didn’t necessarily want her to be a pushover either.

On the flipside of that, I also worried about her being bullied, for whatever reason who knows because kids have poor logic to begin with. Acceptance is still something society is working on, but thankfully we had no incidents that needed intervention.

The brightest side to this is that at 5-years old, it’s so easy to figure out a friendship. Generally, it’s as easy as “Oh, you like firetrucks? Me too, lets play!” Don’t be nervous if your child doesn’t instantly create friendships, he or she may just be waiting for the right moment to ask someone else to play.

“See you after school!”

It’s such a bittersweet moment when you drop your child off for their first day at school. You look forward to having some free time to yourself or having your child learn a whole world of new things, but at the same time you think about how much your baby has grown and how quickly time goes by.

Some kids will embrace kindergarten and have no issues transitioning into the school, while others may show some major apprehension. I don’t know which situation is easier, but either way, it’s important to be supportive and reassure them that school is amazing and that they’ll love every moment of it.

I never felt overly emotional about Isla going off to school. I don’t know if it’s because kindergarten has such a gradual entry that made it easier to cope with or if I’m just a cold, emotionless human being, but I never thought I’d be one of the parents crying in the parking lot after dropping her off. I was good for the first two half-days, but the emotions took over after I dropped Isla off for her full first day. Isla’s teacher had her students give their parents little care packages with a very sweet saying and I pretty much wept as I walked with Norah back home.

You got this.

It’s going to be a big year with big emotions and changes, but remember that you got this. Your child has this. Learn from one another and the next 10 months will go by so smoothly and quickly. It’s a whole new chapter in both of your lives, so write it with the best of your abilities. Good luck!

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