10 Things To Discuss Before The First Day Of Kindergarten

This post is sponsored by Kohl’s. I received the included Carter’s clothes as compensation.

My baby is starting kindergarten in a few weeks. While she’s gone to school before this feels different to me. It feels bigger to me and I think it feel bigger to her too.

Somehow, this seems to mark the start of something in life. In my head it certainly marks the start of her academic career, but it’s more than that. It’s the start of who she’ll be outside of our home.

10 Things To Discuss Before Kindergarten - The Everyday Mom Life

The people in this school, the good and the bad, will begin to shape her from the day she steps through those doors and the idea of that is exciting and nerve wracking.

As I have been thinking about this for the last few weeks I decided to put together a list of ways I could help prepare her for this day and all these changes she’ll be experiencing.

Talk to your child about the new school schedule

My daughter has gone to a daycare/preschool since she was 2. She understands that school is an all-day thing, but her kindergarten day will actually be shorter. In our district Kindergarten was actually only two and a half hours so we enrolled her in something called Enrichment.

Enrichment will supplement kindergarten and she’ll be exposed to more science, math and art then she would during the short kindergarten day. It will be from 9 – 3 p.m., so still considerably shorter than a regular daycare day, and she will have a different teacher for each part of the day so that will feel different to her.

She will also not be required to have nap time, which was required at her preschool. She gave up naps long ago so she’ll probably enjoy this but I’m guessing without any rest time she’ll be more tired by the time the end of the day comes around.

10 Things To Discuss Before Kindergarten - The Everyday Mom Life

Make sure your child understands transportation

My daughter can take a bus to her school or I can drive her. I’m not sure which we will be doing yet. I’m sure we will start out with me driving her. If she wants to ride the bus I will probably be the weirdo that drives behind the bus. Either way it goes, I need to make sure she understands where she’ll be dropped off, where she’ll be picked up and who is picking her up.

If your child is going to before and after school care there might be an extra step you need to talk about. If I worked a 9-5 job and had to send my daughter to before and after school care she would need to get on another bus and go to a different building.

Even if I end up driving her each day I will more than likely be waiting in a line of cars versus getting out of the car to find her. She needs to understand where to stand to meet me and where no to go (the street). I’m hoping that the teachers will be there to help the kindergartners but we haven’t had orientation yet so…

10 Things To Discuss Before Kindergarten - The Everyday Mom Life

Review stranger danger rules

This is the perfect time to talk to your children again about, “Stranger Danger.” She and I have reviewed some of the things you do if someone approaches you or grabs you and who to look for if you’re lost. In the next few weeks we will be talking about this over and over again because I’m scared out of my mind.

10 Things To Discuss Before The First Day of Kindergarten - The Everyday Mom Life

Visit the school before starting to take a tour or attend orientation

If you have an option to go to an orientation, go. We have our orientation coming up and at that time we will take a tour of the school and meet her teacher. I just received an email about it tonight so I feel a bit more calm knowing there is a day when I will get more information and get an understanding of the people in my child’s orbit.

For her I think this will help her to feel more comfortable as walks into the building on her first day. I’m hoping she meets a few friendly faces that she can connect with too.

10 Things To Discuss Before The First Day of Kindergarten - The Everyday Mom Life

Let them pick out a special outfit for their first day of school

In my house we always made a big deal out of back to school clothes shopping. My parents didn’t have a lot of money so while it was a huge expense for them, it was a tradition I loved. I want to continue this with my kids because it’s exciting to get to pick out your own clothes! My daughter loves picking out her outfit every day now so I know she’s going to love this year-after-year.

She had an awesome time when we went to Kohl’s this past weekend to pick out Carter’s clothing for this post. I love all the options that they had in her size (5T in pants and 5T/6T in shirts) and how we could get play clothing and clothing that was cute enough to wear for school pictures.

My daughter kept adding things to the cart. She loved all the looks, including the shoes. She been big on dresses and tunics lately so we stocked up on some really adorable items that you can see throughout the post.

Hey Mom, you'll enjoy these too!

The clothes are comfortable enough to play in but also look school picture cute. They have outfits sold together and separates so you can create your own look, which my girl loves to do. I love the cute, floral prints on a lot of the clothes that we picked out and the colors. Sometimes it’s difficult to find clothes, especially for girls, that aren’t bright pink and garish. The Carter’s clothes have really helped my daughter feel like she looks good while playing like a kid.

Click here to find your own cute back-to-school styles. There is a 40% – 50% off Carter’s Playwear sale from 8/4 -8/20.  Shoppers can also use the BTS10 code to get $10 off $50 spent on the back to school categories (which includes Carter’s clothing).

10 Things To Discuss Before The First Day of Kindergarten - The Everyday Mom Life

Explain there will be older kids around

While my daughter was used to having some older kids around when she was in pre-school, I don’t think you’re really aware of that when you’re 2, 3 or 4. Now there will be some kids much bigger than her because the school goes up to 5th grade. Since bigger kids can sometimes be intimidating I want her to understand that they will be around so she feels more comfortable.

10 Things To Discuss Before The First Day of Kindergarten - The Everyday Mom Life

Ask how they feel about starting a big kid school

We have yet to have this conversation but we have been talking about “big kid schools” for a long time. We often pass her high school when we drive and we did visit her elementary school in March for a pre-orientation orientation. But actually leaving her house and going to a new school can be scary.

My daughter is really shy so I’m really interested to see how her first few days go. She “grew up” with her pre-school friends so she never had to actively make friends. I think that might be a little tough for her.

This conversation will also be really good for both of us. I’m going to hold off until after orientation so she has a better understanding of the change that’s coming.

If you know of another kid in your neighborhood starting school, introduce your kids

I’m a little sad that we don’t live in the 1950s where everyone knows their neighbors. We actually don’t know of another little kid her age in the neighborhood. While we have met our neighbors we don’t know them.

However, we do have a neighborhood block party coming up so I plan to introduce her to anyone that looks her age at that time.

If you’re lucky enough to know kids in your neighborhood already that will be a huge help in making your child feel comfortable on the first day of school.

10 Things To Discuss Before The First Day of Kindergarten - The Everyday Mom Life

Explain what homework is and what you’ll expect

We had homework in preschool. My daughter thought it was fun. When the simple math started my eyes glazed over. We counted with cereal, traced letters, matched sounds, etc.

If your child hasn’t experience homework before, you might want to explain it beforehand so they are prepared for work after school. You should also explain your expectations for it. Will it be done before dinner? Do you work and will it be done after dinner? Are electronics a no no until it’s done? Lay the ground rules early so there’s not confusion later.

I’m not actually sure if my daughter will get homework in kindergarten but we’re going to chat about it anyways. I see long nights of frustration in my future, even if it’s not this year.

10 Things To Discuss Before The First Day of Kindergarten - The Everyday Mom Life

Talk about new bedtime and wake-up routines

During the summertime people can get pretty lax about bedtimes and the bedtime routine. If your child has never gone to school explain to them that there will be an earlier bedtime or a more structured bedtime so they can do their best work in the classroom.

Also explain how mornings will work during the school year. Most kids will need to wake-up earlier. My daughter gets up at 5:30 so I guess I’m lucky there will not be an adjustment for us there. However, talking about this will be prep for me to. She actually has to be somewhere on time now. That’s really going to be new for both of us.

10 Things To Discuss Before The First Day of Kindergarten - The Everyday Mom Life

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  • robin rue August 07, 2017 03.09 pm

    In our town the kindergarteners are in their own school, so there are no older kids around. And I think that is how it should be. A 5 year old should not be around 5th graders.

  • Journa Liz Servito Ramirez August 07, 2017 03.11 pm

    It’s really important to talk to our kids before going to school. It will help them, they will be more ready to face some school challenges. And yes, these topics are so important!

  • backpackingdetours August 07, 2017 03.15 pm

    Oh my gosh, I remember those first days of school. These are great tips! I think communication with your children is key, and they love routine. Now, my baby is starting law school next week. It goes so fast! 🙂

  • Melissa Chapman August 07, 2017 04.49 pm

    It is such agood idea to talk to your child and show them the school before hand so they are not surprised on the day. Great outfits also help make her feel comfortable.

  • Jessica Joachim August 07, 2017 05.08 pm

    My daughter has one more year before kindergarten, but will be starting pre K on Thursday. She is so excited! It really is a huge change for kids though

  • Tara August 07, 2017 05.29 pm

    great tips! I’m not a mother yet but I hope to keep these in mind for the future!

  • Jordan | Read. Eat. Repeat. August 07, 2017 06.19 pm

    My little one starts preschool tomorrow and I think I need to talk to her about a few of these too, particularly making sure she understands that it’s an all day thing and she can’t just sit it out when she doesn’t feel like going. We already picked out a special outfit days ago, because girly girl over here ????

  • thesaltymamas August 07, 2017 06.29 pm

    All great things to think about! I have one more year before my oldest starts Kindergarten, but already thinking about lots of these things! It goes so fast 🙁

  • Beth Davidson August 07, 2017 08.41 pm

    My oldest won’t start preschool until next year, but just thinking about kindergarten gave me heart palpitations. Lol. Good advice!

  • Karen Morse August 07, 2017 10.50 pm

    These are great tips for parents who are going to send their first kids off to school this year. I think it’s always important to talk them through it at least a month before the school starts so they can get used to the idea.

  • Erica August 07, 2017 10.51 pm

    Your daughter is so cute and looks so excited for kindergarten. I was so lucky when I started kindergarten because I had a friend my age who took the bus with me (though she was in a different homeroom and I barely saw her once at school.) But I think lots of kids don’t know anyone in their class when starting out. And kids tend to be super friendly when they are little. So hopefully she’ll have great new friends in no time.

  • Cassie Liz August 07, 2017 11.56 pm

    Oh your daughter is beautiful!! She must be so excited to start her first day of kindergarten! These sounds like really sensible discussion points!

  • savingmamasita August 08, 2017 12.11 am

    This is such a hard time! All my kids are past this point in their life but we made it. And they loved it!

  • Breena Blake August 08, 2017 01.23 am

    These are all really great and important things to discuss. Your daughter looks super cute in her adorable outfits. She also looks very ready and excited for school. I can tell she going to have a good time 🙂

  • Ebony Hinton August 08, 2017 01.26 am

    Tip 11, try not to cry lol. These are all very good tips. I have done most of these because.im an extra cautious mom. But my little guy handles himself well.

  • Pam @ Wine and Lavender August 08, 2017 02.27 am

    She’s so cute- and she’s going to love school! I love all of your points- there is definitely a lot we need to review before the first day, and we are definitely going to take a tour before school starts!

  • themomnoms August 08, 2017 04.32 am

    My son is going to pre-k and it’s so huge for us! I”m going to use some of these tips for him going to pre-k as well!

  • AnnMarie John August 08, 2017 07.29 am

    My youngest is going to be attending kindergarten this school year and it’s really important that I prepare her mentally so she won’t feel overwhelmed. These are awesome tips!

  • sayhellonature August 08, 2017 11.10 am

    These are awesome tips for going back to school! Such a good way to ease the transition. And her outfits are super cute!

  • Shell August 08, 2017 01.25 pm

    These are wonderful tips and I love her adorable outfits 🙂

  • Joanna @ Everyday Made Fresh August 08, 2017 01.31 pm

    Your daughter is beautiful, and that curly hair, reminds me of my oldest at that age. These are all great tips for those that have a young child entering kindergarten.

  • Terri Steffes August 08, 2017 04.03 pm

    As a retired school principal, I love your list! School supply shopping is another way to build excitement for the new adventure!

  • The Culinary Jumble August 08, 2017 04.18 pm

    Ah, they grow up so fast, don’t they? Great tips – it’s so important to prepare them and let them have a say, such as choosing their own outfit!

  • Terri Ramsey Beavers August 08, 2017 07.08 pm

    This post really brought back fond memories of when my kids started Kindergarten. These are superb tips to discuss with kids who are starting school for the first time. It can be exciting and a little scary too.

  • Nicola Bromley August 08, 2017 09.15 pm

    These are some great tips! My daughter has just finished her second year in school. Most schools here have a gradual introduction into Reception (kindergarten) where the children just go half days or every other day for the first few weeks. It’s great for kids to get used to a new routine and break them in gently!

  • aish das-padihari August 08, 2017 10.46 pm

    My 5 year old son will start kindergarten next week and its a bitter sweet feeling for me. I’m not sure about him, but I’m definitely not ready for him to start kindergarten. The post is so helpful though.

  • Kanani B. August 09, 2017 01.38 am

    These are some great ideas to think about. I especially like to stay on point about stranger danger.

  • Misty – Frosted Moms (@frostedevents) August 09, 2017 04.39 am

    Look at your sweet little big girl! She looks so excited to start her new journey. I’m still in a puddle over here because my little is about to start pre-school. Heaven help me when we get to Kindergarten

  • Ana De-Jesus August 09, 2017 05.10 pm

    I am so glad that you teach your daughter about stranger danger because it is such a common issues in schools and some might not recognize the signs. Also on another note her outfit is gorgeous she is so stylish x

  • Reesa August 09, 2017 06.33 pm

    It’s such an exciting and overwhelming time. It took my daughter a few months to get acclimated.

  • Heather Riccobono (@BrieBrieBlooms) August 09, 2017 09.17 pm

    She is adorable! We have two daughters, our oldest just started third grade and our youngest is only two years old. I can’t believe we are only a few years away from kindergarten again, it’s such a fun time.

  • Rebecca August 10, 2017 12.18 am

    She’s adorable and what a little model! I know I would not have cooperated that well for photos at her age. The outfits are so great.

  • Dawn McAlexander (@TheNewClassy) August 10, 2017 12.42 am

    Oh my. She is quite the little cutie. I miss when my daughter was in kindergarten and was that little.

  • Krystle Cook August 11, 2017 08.23 pm

    These are all great topics to discuss. I know that when starting a new routine I like to explain things with my kids as well.

  • Toughcookiemommy August 12, 2017 11.11 pm

    It’s so important to have these important conversations with your child from the beginning of their education. It opens the door for years of good communication.

  • Emily Young August 16, 2017 12.54 pm

    Ahh I can’t even! I’m not ready to send my little one to school!


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