Preparation for Kindergarten

Updated on August 30, 2011
C.M. asks from Denton, TX
14 answers

My daughter is starting public kindergarten in August and I was wondering what I should do to prepare for it.

School starts at 7:50. Drive is probably 20 min or less. What time should I get her up in the mornings? 6:00?
When should we start practicing getting up that early? Beginning of August?

I am going to take her shopping for a back pack, lunch box etc. What is your favorite lunch box?

What other things do you do to get your child ready for kindergarten?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the great ideas! Can you tell I'm a little nervous about kindergarten? I'm hoping the more prepared my daughter and I are the "easier" it will be. We are also the s-l-o-w-e-s-t people in the morning, so I like the routines and chart some of you mentioned.


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answers from New York on

Did she go to preschool? If not teach her how to hang her jacket on a hook, zip her own sweatshirt, put on her own shoes, (velcro if she cant tie) wash her own hands, open her own water bottles or juice box, If she cant recognize her name than have her watch as you label everything and she'll have it in no time,

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answers from Dallas on

A couple weeks before my DD started Kindergarten (last summer) the school had an orientation with the teachers and the Principal and they gave suggestions to get them ready. Some of them were to make sure they knew how to button their pants and jackets, open food containers from their lunch box, zip and unzip their backpacks. Stuff like that which your DD probably already knows how to do.

As far as what time to wake her up, I would usually have to allow about 45m to an hour to wake up, eat breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed, make sure everything is in the backpack (including lunch), general wallering around ;) and to get out the door. I would start this routine about a week or two before school starts.

I'm sure she will just love Kindergarten and make sure to take your camera and tissues on that first day! And don't be surprised if she enters that classroom and literally doesn't even look back. ((Sigh)) they grow up so fast don't they?

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answers from Spokane on

I put a "morning routine" chart on my kids bedroom doors. This is a simple chart I made with construction paper and a sharpie. Next to each list item is a picture clue.

1. Go potty
2. Brush teeth
3. Get dressed (all the way to socks)
4. Make bed
5. Eat and go!

Going potty is something they will do anyway, so it's an automatic and immediate success. I have them brush teeth because they are already in the bathroom, once they are in the main part of the house it seems that they get distracted and by the time breakfast is over we have all forgotten about teeth brushing - so I'd rather have them brush before they eat than not at all.
I generally have them pick their clothes the night before and I lay them out on top of their hampers so they don't have to think about it in the morning. Backpack is hanging on the front door with homework folder, extra socks/Tshirt/snow boots/sweater (whatever you'll need for the weather) in it. Shoes are by the front door in pairs.
Breakfast is something easy but healthy - yogurt, a couple apple slices, a piece of toast and glass of milk.
I give my kids a ten minute "heads up" and then five and then two minutes. At the two minute warning I have them put their shoes on, then we are out the door and walking to school!
This whole process takes an hour to get through unrushed. I would definitely start inching bedtime and wakeup time toward what you want for school days at least two weeks in advance. Move things earlier by 15 minutes every three days until you have her getting up early enough for school.
Enjoy your first year of school with your daughter!

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answers from Joplin on

I have always had really good luck with the soft sided lunch boxes that are insulated. I can pack one little rubbermaid ice pack ( they come in different shapes and are cute! I got mine at walmart) and it will keep it nice and cool.
The lunch "bag" is called zero degrees inner cool.
I wake my kids up an hour before they have to walk out the door...they have never needed any more time than that. In fact my youngest who was not a morning person at all, I started waking him up 30 minutes before we had to leave, because no matter what I tried he would never eat in the AM, and it seemed silly to wake him up just to have him beg to watch tv before school.
I always started my kids with the new routine a week or two before school started and that was always enough.
Picking outfits the night before, making sure back packs are packed and ready to go the night before...make life so much easier. I pack lunches the night before minus what needs to be kept cold.
Label everything with your daughters name.
Make sure she knows how to write her first and last name.

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answers from Dallas on

I like Kathleens routine... my only 2 cents is, last year when we started Kinder, I bought a lunch bag and that was great for about 2 weeks until I figured that there is NO way I can make lunch everyday for $2.15.

My son bought lunch the rest of the year... so easy :)

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answers from Honolulu on

Well with both my kids, they went to Preschool. Preschool was 'practice' for all of this.
My son is 4.75 years old now and has been going to Preschool for a few months. Then he too, will be going to Kinder in August. Soon.

I get up myself, BEFORE anyone in the family is up.
I get things ready already. Make coffee, make breakfast, do chores, make myself ready etc.
So that, BEFORE the kids are awake, I have things ready already.
I KNOW what to pack for their lunch. And I have it ready in the fridge. BUT my kids, also get their own lunch bags ready in the morning. They: get their lunch bags, get their ice-packs, get their prepped lunches from the fridge, put it all in their lunch bags, fill up their own water bottles and then put it in their bags too. And with napkins and utensils and hand-sanitizer. I have their bags labeled with a Luggage Tag, and ALL their items, labeled with a Sharpie pen.

They, also know what to wear. They decide. BEFORE it is even time to get ready, I cue them... ie: "Eat, then change clothes and get ready, brush teeth. 15 minutes." My Daughter has a watch and so she keeps track of time and tells her brother too. They get dressed themselves.

The trick is: NEVER start getting 'ready' at the get ready time. Because glitches always happens, making everyone late. SO... with the kids, I have them get ready, about 10 minutes BEFORE I know they have to get ready. Then, we are still ON time, even if there are glitches along the way.

Plan ahead.

My Kids, summer or not or during the school year, always still wake up at the same time in the morning and go to bed at the same time. So they do not have to, get used to waking or sleeping at different times. It is just routine.

I would get a rolling back-pack for your child.
Carrying a back pack on their shoulders, is HEAVY.
LL Bean has GOOD ones, and you can return it anytime and get a replacement for free. They have awesome warranties.
My Daughter has had her LL Bean rolling backpack (personalized with her initials) Since 1st Grade. She will now be going to 4th grade, and it still looks good as new. They have GOOD quality back packs.

Get an insulated lunch bag. And buy a Blue-Ice pack for it.
Buy a water bottle as well. They have this in class for the kids to use/drink from.

My kids wake up at about 6:30.
We leave the house at about 7:30am.
But we live nearby their school.

REMEMBER: that once school starts again, the traffic will be thicker and slower. Because EVERYONE is driving to school, again. Summer traffic is a lot lighter.
Don't plan it so that your child gets to school right at 7:50. Your child will be tardy. Plan on getting to the school, 10 minutes earlier. And factor in walking... to the classroom too. That will take time too. Every minute counts.

all the best,

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answers from San Francisco on

Plan some activities that will require you to be somewhere by 7:50. That's what we're doing this summer. In our case the practice is needed is getting used to hauling our butts out of bed an hour earlier. This is mostly for mom and dad.... LOL!

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answers from New York on

Usually a few days before school starts while the teacher is setting up the classroom students are invited to stop by. If your school offers this, it's a great opportunity. If your school doesn't offer it, call and ask to have a brief (10 minute) meeting with the teacher and allow your child to see the classroom.

As for a lunchbox, just make sure it's something that she can easily open herself.

I would start the routine of getting up early 2 weeks before school starts.

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answers from Portland on

Lunchboxes: get one she can open herself easily.Some with zippers are cute, but the zippers are hard to get around the corners. I like ones with velcro at the top or the old style metal ones with the latch.

6 sounds fine. Do a dress rehearsal week. Have her clothes laid out the night before. So it's up,dressed, breakfast, toothbrushing/hairbrushing, ready to go. An hour and a half should be enough time, you will just have to make sure to keep tv/distractions to a minimum and have a pretty clear routine order of tasks. Stick with easy breakfasts, too. No three course affairs. If you want to make something fancier, might be worth getting up earlier yourself to prep.

And make sure your child is in bed early the night before. A tired kid is an uncooperative kid.

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answers from Atlanta on

I am in the same boat and one thing that my twins have enjoyed is reading books about Kindergarten. I bought them several books about starting Kindergarten for their preschool graduation gift and we read them several nights a week. The books range from being silly to informative but they usually prompt them to ask questions about starting school and I really feel that it is taking some of the anxiety and fear out of the situation for them. Just Google books about Kindergarten and you will find several articles listing good ones or the guidance counselor at the school should be able to provide you with a list.
My friends have recommended that we start getting them up early about 2 weeks before school starts.
Friends have also recommended trying to find a lunchbox that can snap onto the backpack or a backpack that has a strap to attach to the lunchbox. This lets them have their hands free and keeps them from leaving their lunch somewhere. We got ours both at Pottery Barn Kids and they do attach.
Good luck!

Mom of Twins

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answers from New York on

I worked in a group home years ago and they got up an hour earlier 2 weeks before school started and then at the school time the week before. My kids love the metal lunch boxes. I'm not thrilled with the plastic ones (icky plastic chemicals near my food--no thanks). When I was a kid and started K my mom made me a special fabric lunch bag. I love the morning routine chart idea. My 5 year old needs an hour or maybe less to get ready for preschool.

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answers from Seattle on

Not good at math or being on time, we start at 9am, have a five minute drive, and she wakes up at 8:15am. Enough time to brush teeth, wash face, get dressed, and eat. Breakfast is usually a scrambled egg for protein, toast, and we premake pancakes to be warmed up. We started in august. We also like the soft sided, insulated lunch bags. Pick out clothes the night before has been our biggest helper in the morning! She knows where to look for them, so I can sleep in a little ;)

Check your school's supply list before buying a backpack-we aren't allowed to have rolling ones! We got ours at ll bean also, and I love the pottery barn ones. We had a gap one for preschool and it fell apart pretty quick.

Our school gives "kindergarten kits" at registration, which include a few things the teachers like the kids to work on over size scissors, a bigger pencil, alphabet and number recognition, and learning how to write their name. We worked a lot on reading, phonics, sight words, and basic math, algebra, and geometry this past year in kg. The more they know before, the better they will do in class!

Sitting still and following directions are two very important skills to have as well! Google "kindergarten readiness" for other tips and lists..

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answers from Oklahoma City on

If you need to walk out the door and be in the vehicle by 7:30 then you can get her up as late as 7am. We let the kids eat breakfast at school so they go at 7:45. School starts at 8. We get ours up at 7 and she is ready to go by about 7:20/25.

If you have her pick out her clothes in the evening she will already have everything that is time consuming done before getting up.

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answers from Chicago on

Betsy C,
Where did you find the zero degrees innercool lunch bag? I bought one for my daughter last year but cannot fine one this year. Thanks!

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