The First Day of Kindergarten
Posted on September 04 2018
It is here! Whether it is walking into your neighborhood school or driving across town to the school you spent months (or years) on the waitlist for. The first day of Kindergarten is filled with emotion and expectations for you and your kiddo. Below are practical and thoughtful ways for you to navigate and celebrate the Kindergarten milestone.
Document the First Day of Kindergarten
Full disclosure, I am not good at this type of thing; I don’t do crafts, décor, or planning well. BUT the effort put into documenting milestones is well worth it. A simple yet worthwhile idea is a first day of kindergarten sign. These can be as easy as a printed out sign or as elaborate as a homemade chalkboard with an intricate design. Snap the angelic, silly, or meltdown-in-action picture that is your child and store that photo in a special place. The side-by-side with the end of the year photo will melt your heart and is absolutely a social media post.
The first day of kindergarten signs are fantastic. But other first day of kindergarten picture ideas are photos with their new school in the background pointing to their new classroom's widow or next to the school’s sign. Hanging on the playground equipment creates a playful picture for an active child. Of course a photo of them sitting at their new desk (how cute do they look in the miniature scalded classroom!) is a classic.
Making the First Day of Kindergarten Special
A fun DIY or Esty item is the first day of kindergarten shirt. Some are along the theme of “Hello Kindergarten, I’m ______” or other customizable options. Not only does your child feel super special wearing a personalized top, but also the teachers and staff may learn their name more quickly. Bonus!
Beginning elementary school is a big deal; it is an enormous shift in their childhood. A first day of kindergarten gift commemorates and honors this transition. A personalized bracelet or necklace is a gift that has a growing up feel to it. If you are super organized and plan in advance, a book in which you child is the main character in the story feels extra special. Allowing them to pick out a new outfit for their school year or a unique stuffed animal can demonstrate your trust and support for their new level of independence.
Preparing for the First Day of Kindergarten
Getting ready for kindergarten involves preparing yourself and your child for this transition. Children typically feel stressed by the unknown of the school day even if they are unable to express this. Reading together a first day of kindergarten book (there are lots out there) can help facilitate your conversation. Use the story in the book to talk about potential classroom expectations, what the lunchroom maybe like, if they are riding a bus, where they are bathrooms, and how you will together again at the end of the day. Share that the teachers and staff are helpers and will be there to answer questions and to keep your child safe. Helping your child understand the unknown can relieve anxiety and build excitement.
Hopefully, your school has a Meet and Greet event or a new to school conference for incoming Kindergartens. Take advantage of these events and do not rush through them. Take time to let your child connect and experience their new environment. Being on campus, seeing the classroom, building, and playground may help your child on the first day. If your school does not provide these events, visit the school anyways and talk about what the first day will be like.
First Day of Kindergarten for Parents
Whether this child is your first, middle, or last sending them off to school is an impactful time for parents. Some first day of kindergarten ideas for parents is to meet with a few friends after drop-off for brunch, grab a coffee and journal, or schedule a massage for that first day. Recognize that a lot is going on at this period in your life.Take time to reflect, connect and share with yourself, friends, and/or significant other.
Honor your feelings. I was a total mess dropping of my oldest; it was scary to let him walk away from me and trust others to care for him. With my youngest it is completely different; I know that the school she is entering is amazing. I am just not ready for her to be old enough to be gone all day. It is not fear this time, but sadness that we are past having preschool play dates and mid-week museum days.
The end of summer can sneak up quickly. Take time to be intentional with the start of school. Time preparing yourself and your child can help with the transition, create warm memories, and build your child’s self-confidence and sense of independence.