Parent to Parent: What You *Need* To Know When Your Child Starts Kindergarten

The best advice comes from someone who has walked in your shoes before. Even as a “veteran” mom, I love hearing how other parents do things and handle certain situations with their kids. Parent to Parent is where we ask other parents how they handle a situation and share the answers with you. It takes a village, so leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments.

parenting advise


Once the monogrammed backpack is ordered, school supply scavenger hunt is complete, and the outfit is selected, you can breath a sigh of relief as you await the first day of school. While you savor the last moments of summer, consider some tips from other parents on what you need to know when your child starts kindergarten.

What you *need* to Know When Your Child Starts Kindergarten
from parents who’ve been there!

“Allow your child to practice eating their snack and lunch at home from step one. Taking the lunchbox out of their backpack, opening the packages and containers, and cleaning it up. You may be surprised with what they have difficulty with, or that they think it’s ok to put a half-consumed (opened!) applesauce container back in their lunchbox!” — Holly, mother of a five-year-old and a seven-year-old.

“Familiarize yourself with the parking lot and figure out ahead of time what drop-off and pick-up procedures are.” — Jake G.

“I was surprised that all the kindergarten supplies were poured into a box for everyone to share. My daughter was heartbroken to see her carefully chosen items combined with all the others. After that, I bought the school supplies alone. I also learned to buy exactly what’s on the list. If it says Crayola, don’t buy a generic brand just to save a few bucks. Fortunately, our schools put the school supply list online so I can buy items throughout the year when they are on sale.”  –Genevieve O.

“Don’t stress too much about what they do and don’t know–there are no tests the first day of school. This is not the time to start drilling them with flash cards. Focus on their emotional needs as your prepare for the first day.” — Jen H., Elementary School Teacher

“In most schools now supplies are shared. Don’t get too picky when shopping or let your kids get attached to anything. And as a former teacher, I feel that kindergarten parents need know how cared for their kids are–on good days, hard days and normal days. Their child’s teacher chose this job at this school because she wanted to teach kindergarten students knowing what she was getting in to. The teacher is on your team if you choose for her to be.” — Alli C.


“Even some non-nappers will start napping, or be very, very tired. Full-day school, every day, is an adjustment and they will take it out on you. They may cry and not want to do their extracurricular activities, or not listen well. But stick with it, make sleep a priority, and everyone will adjust. And SOCKS! Send multiple pairs of socks to keep in their cubby in the winter; they will always be wet after recess.” — Melissa H. mom of four,  preschool, kindergarten, fourth and sicth grade

“Buy extra winter gloves, especially for bus riders. We went through a lot. I especially liked the stretch “magic” gloves for kids because they were inexpensive. Also, consider donating nicer, outgrown clothes to the school nurse or social worker. She knows who needs a warm coat, a gently worn sweatshirt or sweater, or an emergency pair of sweatpants.”  — Jennifer J.

“There will be fees, fundraisers, and money coming out of your pocket monthly now until they finish college! Just get used to it. Join the PTO–you’ll meet some amazing mom friends with kids the same age! Send an extra outfit including underwear and socks. Even if your kid won’t have a bathroom accident consider a muddy playground incident or mishap in the lunchroom–it’s best to have an outfit on-hand, just in case. And volunteer in the classroom even if it’s just once as a guest reader or during a classroom party. Your child will be so proud to show you off and you will learn more about their environment than you ever could from a conversation.”  — Cheryl K.

©T. Rubel | Little Lake | 2016
©T. Rubel | Little Lake | 2016

Do you have a little on heading off to kindergarten in the fall? What questions do you have? If you have older kids, what questions do you wish you would have asked?






About Holly Garvey 78 Articles
Stay-at-home mom who works! On again/off again work in family real estate business, babysitter, dog rescue and historical society volunteer all while chasing my new-found dream to be a writer.I live in Antioch with my husband, Jake, and kids, Cecilia (5) and Mark (3), and our dog Isabella. I'm an aspiring vegan (I cheat a lot), Jazzercise addict and runner. As a family, we love to travel and spend time outdoors. I love to go antique shopping and garage sale-ing, cook, and read in my (rare) free time.

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