Questions Regarding Daughter Starting Kindergarten

Updated on July 12, 2010
M.S. asks from Mansfield, TX
27 answers

My daughter is starting kindergarten this fall and I have a few questions for moms of 1st or 2nd grade girls. This may seem strange but what kind of backpacks and lunch kits did most of the girls carry? I know she would probably like another "princess" or character backpack, but I'm wondering at what age is that not "cool" anymore. I certainly don't want her to feel left out and I already know that if everyone else has something different, she is going to want me to buy something different (and since hubby lost his job, that's not an option). I personally like solids or colorful geometric shapes (like LL Bean has - and they can be monogrammed. Grandma has offered to buy her one of those.) Also, do the girls in elementary school wear a lot of dresses? My daughter was in a private Pre-K and wore a uniform so I don't know exactly what kind of clothes the other girls will wear.

I know this seems like I am more concerned about her fitting in than she probably will be, but I know her personality and I want to prevent a battle down the road by buying the stuff myself ahead of time. If I took her with me and let her pick things out, she would never decide and then she won't like whatever I pick. I can't believe this drama is already starting!!! LOL

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answers from Atlanta on

Hi M.,

Well, my daughter Mia is an avowed tomboy. This being said, she is sensitive to "fitting in" with the other girls, so she will ask for dresses often enough to where I will buy her several for the beginning of this school year. She completed Kindergarten last year.

Kohls is having a kick-tail sale right about now. There are several "sets" that are just adorable, but not too "cute", ya know what I mean?

Good luck!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My daughter is going into 2nd most the girls DID not have character backpacks or lunchbags. She said kids would call those kids babies. Most of them had plain jane or geometric shapes etc.. SO you are on the right thinking path.

Some will wear dresses but not a lot cause they have PE and recess you will need to wear shorts under them then



answers from Dallas on

I would steer away from Dora the Explorer for the backpack. Both my kids love(d) Dora, but as soon as they each hit kindergarten, they came home saying Dora is for babies.

I also agree with the posts about the character backpacks being of poorer quality. I have had to buy new backpacks every year because the ones I have bought wear out. I am going to take the advice of looking at Lands End and LL Bean for the next ones. My only concern would be my kids getting tired of the same backpack each year. They actually enjoy getting a new one.

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answers from Salt Lake City on

I worked in the kindergarten class last year.
Children in kindergarten are still innocent, not really noticing their differences yet. There will always be a bully, but snobbery that early on in life comes from the parents. You wouldn't want your child to be friends with them anyway if the parents speak that way in front of their child.
As far as I know, last spring, purple was in, so were princesses or butterflies and other frilly things, Dora is out so avoid that and girls wore jeans/shorts and T-shirts everyday. Girls still wore braids, pigtails and pony tails.
You sound like you are very concerned and very aware, as long as your child goes to school prepared, with her hair done, and clean clothes, she will fit right in. What you really want is a good teacher, the great thing about kindergartners is that they are forgiving, one minute a girl will be teasing another, the teacher can intervene and say they need to play together and the girls can run off together as happy as can be.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

LL Bean, makes GREAT backpacks... they are warrantied for life, if for any reason you need to return/replace it, they replace it for free.
My daughter has one, has had the same one since 1st Grade and she is now going into 3rd grade, and it still looks brand new. NO tears and it does not look 'used.'
Her Aunty, bought it for her. She LOVES it... she has the rolling backpack. Kids that age/size, it is best to have a rolling backpack to they do not have to carry a heavy load on their shoulders.
It is well worth, the price.
My daughter's is monogrammed as well.

Don't worry, she will be fine. Clothe her in clothes that is her taste... and that she will be comfortable in. Or in clothes that you know she likes. By now, you probably know what clothes styles she likes or not.
That is what I do.
At this age, it can take EONS for them to 'choose' clothes...

all the best,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

For kinder my daughter picked out a Hello Kitty back pack and Princess lunchbag. With first grade just around the corner, I'll take her and let her pick out what she wants. I'm sure it will be Peace sign something since that is what she is really into now.
As far as dresses, I didn't see alot of girls wear dresses only because in kinder they go to PE/gym class every day and are not allowed to wear sandals/flip flops.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I don't remember what kind of backpack my dd had in kinder, (she's 4th grade now), but by 1st grade she was already into High School Musical and Hannah Montana. Her backpack said, "I ♥ Troy!" on it. Sigh!
If you get a pink ll bean one that's pretty plain but let her get zipper charms with what she's into, it'll save you some $. And, they're interchangable. :)
Puppies is the main thing I've seen with girls. And horses.
As far as clothes, I can't help. My girl is in uniform at school and a total tomboy at home.



answers from Phoenix on

Hm, the only hard and fast rule I know of with little girls is "It must be new every year." The ones who show up with the same pencil bag, back pack, lunch bag are considered out of date and weird. Kindergartners care the least but the consciousness builds every year after until they get to an age where they are interested in being different rather than being the same.



answers from Dallas on

I have a boy that just finished K, but we have a lot of friends that are girls. Some had Hannah Montana. One of my friends got a cute colorful backpack at Wal-mart for $5, then got it monogrammed w/her name. It was very cute.



answers from St. Louis on

My preschooler and 1st grader are going on their second year with their LL Bean backpacks. I love them. They hold up so well. They are both monogrammed and when they got to school last year turned out most of the kids had monogrammed backpacks so they fit right in.
My 1st grader used a princess lunch bag last year and we'll continue to use it until she asks for something else - mostly because I like the size of it.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Although I have a boy, rest assured that character backpacks and lunch boxes are very common, even in 1-2nd grade (all I have exp. with so far!).
Also, lots of the girls in my son's K & 1st grade class wore dresses--except on gym days :-)



answers from Saginaw on

my daughter will be in 1st grade and had a princess back pack for kindergarten and so did most of the other girls and boys, well a character i should say! Some of the girls in her class wore skirts and dresses but I didnt let my daughter. She had gym class twice a week, daily circle time in the floor and recess outside everyday weather permited, plus when it was nice her teacher took the class outside for science. Good luck! My oldest daughter starts 1st grade and my youngest daughter starts kindergarten so I feel your pain about the drama! lol

edit: I forgot to say that at my daughters school the kids cant play on the outside equipement unless they have tennis shoes on so thats another reason why she doesnt wear dresses.



answers from Dallas on

My daughter (just finished 2nd grade) picks her backpacks from Children's Place of Justice - with a matching lunch box. No character for her - kinder was a pink and white plaid (bad color choice, gets too dirty), 1st grade was a cheetah print with a pink strip and last year was a black and red plaid with peace signs. I don't remember seeing the girls with a character/princess backpacks either.

Bike shorts are a must for skirts/jumpers. Skorts are a great option too. She's in uniforms but preferred jumpers in kinder, skirts in first and skorts and shorts in 2nd.



answers from New York on

I wouldn't get too much ahead of time just in case the teacher sends home a list. I run a preschool with kindergarten and I really haven't seen the children pay much attention to what kind of backpacks or lunch boxes they carry. I would let her pick out what she like. I know you want her to fit in but letting her make her own choices (as long as they are appropriate) and being her own individual is the best thing you can teach her. I lived the whole girl drama so I understand. My daughter is 21 now and we survived. Just be there for her and teach her to stand up for herself, stand her ground and love herself, and she will be fine.



answers from Dallas on

My daughter had a princess backpack in kindergarten (it was white, too - not a qreat choice). It had holes in it by March. So my dad took her to WalMart to pick out whatever back pack she wanted. She picked a brown and pink geometric one. It was a little bit too big for her, but she carried it for the rest of kindergarten and all of first grade, and it is still in great shape. In Kindergarten she had a my little pony soft side lunch box, and then we got her a purple one from CVS for first grade. My advice is avoid the characters and buy fun colors. They will last longer and no one can tell her they are "babyish". I let my daughter personalize her backpack and lunchbox with keychains.

As far as what they wear - some dresses, but mostly skirts, shorts and jeans. My daughter mostly wears the scooter skirts with the shorts underneath because she likes to wear dresses. Hard to find adjustable waist scooters that don't require ironing, though.


answers from Milwaukee on

i have a son but in second grade the kids started to tease him about his scooby doo lunch box. so in the middle of the year i got him a plain grey lunch box... i know girls are different.



answers from Dallas on

My daughter just finished kindergarden and she used a Hello Kitty backpack/lunch box for the first part of the year and later switched to Hannah Montana backpack/lunch box. She didn't want to wear dresses or skirts unless they were skorts because the kids were always running around on the playing ground or in p.e. etc. that it was mandatory for girls to wear shorts under their dresses and skirts. She was happy in jeans and shorts but every week or two she would wear a skirt or a dress as long as she was able to move comfortabley in it with shorts on underneath.



answers from Tulsa on

Fitting in is important, don't discredit yourself for wanting her to have friends.

Kids in public school wear everything. Some wore nothing but jeans and tee shirts and some wore dresses everyday. It is a personality choice. Just DO NOT let her wear shoes that have heels or toes showing. Think running and playing at the park. Kids can't run and play, kick a ball, or play chase if they have inappropriate shoes. I can't tell you how many kids I see at schools wearing sandals with heels and thin little straps. They are hobbling along trailing after their class by the end of the day.

As for a backpack, I am against them, I think it is silly for a little child to be toting a backpack around everywhere. But of course we bought one for our girl. She had a couple given to her and then she had the one we bought. We got a couple at a local thrift store for a couple of dollars a piece. They are as much a fashion statement as clothes so let her pick what she wants most from her Grandmother. As for lunch, our kids eat at school and buy their food there and don't need a lunch box.


answers from Albany on

Hi M., my kids were in Catholic schools too for years when we built in the burbs, boy do I miss uniforms! I had all the same questions. My daughter was in 2nd grade when she started in public school...I only got all of them a few things to start to wait and see what they would be comfortable in after they saw what the 'norm' was, as silly as it sounds....turns out the outfits I got my daughter were a little too dressy (and with regards to shopping with her, I held up two shirts I liked and said 'which one?')...I never liked the character based things like lunch boxes and back packs, bought a good sturdy one for each that would withstand a number of ahem, 'style changes', and that was that....btw I was sick with worry that the drastic culture shock of moving from a tiny Catholic school to an enormous public school would scar them for life, but they eased into the changes beautifully, and many years later (grades 12, 10, and 7th for my daughter, I am very pleased with our district and they have all excelled. Good Luck! It's a VERY casual public world out there!



answers from Dallas on

My daughter is going into 2nd grade and wears a variety of clothes, but skorts or bike shorts under dresses are a must. I think it's a good idea to give her choices for backpack. I'd get two that are in your budget, let her choose which one she wants, then take the other one back. My DD loved princesses in K, and Hello Kitty in 1st grade. You can do the same with clothes. My daughter has definitely developed a preference for what she likes. I like to bargain shop, but it's not a bargain if she won't wear it!



answers from Abilene on

Both of my kids have had the same Land's End backpacks for three years now, and they are still not wearing out! They cost a bit more in the beginning, but you will absolutely get your money's worth out of them because they will last forever!

Shorts, capris, and tennis shoes are a must for kindergarten. Sitting crossed-legged on the carpet for lessons makes skirts and dresses difficult. My female students who wore skirts/dresses always spent a lot of time messing with trying to pull skirts over their knees while sitting on the carpet and they missed out on some lessons.


answers from New York on

My trick when my kids were young was I didn't buy back to school clothes until after school started. Since the weather is usually warm when they go back to school I would wait a week or so before taking them shopping. That way they could see what the other kids were wearing and we could pick out clothes that would be ok.

Backpacks and lunch boxes weren't really a big deal. Let her pick out what she likes. Most backpacks wear out in a year or so of daily wear. Once they get into 3rd or 4th grade you are better off springing for an LL Bean backpack since they come with a lifetime warrenty.



answers from Erie on

my son just finished k in a public school but his dress code is strick, Jeans and plain shirts or t's only, no graphics and no windpants or sweats. you might want to double check before you go back to school shopping. As for the backpacks, i can't say for sure but i think there was a variety. remember class sizes will be bigger than in preschool so you might find a bigger range of likes and dislikes.



answers from Tyler on

Hey -
I have a son entering 2nd grade, so we are in a slightly different boat. And, the girls were much more particular about these types of things than the boys were. The girls definitely paid attention (although not as much in Kindergarten as in 1st grade).

For my son for Kindergarten, he had a Thomas backpack. But, it was cheap and it fell apart. For 1st grade, I got him a backpack for his size at Landsend. It is the perfect size for him and I had his name embroidered on it. I also got lunch boxes for both of my kids at Landsend with their names embroidered on it (mainly because my son lost about 3 lunch boxes until I had his name embroidered on it).

Good luck!



answers from Madison on

Before my daughter started kindergarten she was very into wearing dresses and skirts. She wore dresses skirts for the first couple months of kindergarten and then decided she didn't like them anymore. Now she wears capris, shorts and jeans. When visiting I noticed most of the girls in her kindergarten class didn't wear many dresses or skirts, but some did. You could wait until school starts and see what others are wearing before you buy her many new things.

As far as backpacks/lunchboxes go. It is probably safest not to get character ones. She may decide she doesn't like them or they are too babyish. Let her pick out something with a color or pattern she would like.



answers from Dallas on

I have twin girls that are going into 2nd grade this year. They are very different. One still really likes the princesses and Tinkerbell. I too worried that other girls would think these things were babish. But when I went to eat lunch with her or visit the classroom, I noticed there were many character backpacks, and it was me being worried, not her. Same for the lunchbox. Now, on the other hand, I have another girl going into 4th grade. And she could, and did, tell me exactly what kind of backpack and lunchbox she wanted. The only thing I would discourage, because the school frowns on them, is backpacks with wheels. If you have 400 wheeled backpacks, it gets crazy in the halls. Other than that, let her choose and go for it. Walmart has some backpacks for under $15 and that's where mine come from often. And at school, I see the same ones. Last thing, ask her teacher at meet the teacher night if you still aren't sure what to do.



answers from Dallas on

No idea on the characters (I have a boy going into 2nd grade) but wanted to tell you toys r us you get a free lunchbox if you buy a backpack, most of the backpacks were $15-$20.

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