Kindergarten Countdown

Prep for your totís first day of school.

It seems like only yesterday you were agonizing where to send your child to preschool. Now, your tyke is headed to kindergarten, and you only have one short month left to prepare. What should you do? The following information is broken down by time left until the start of school. Heed the advice for a smooth transition.

One Month

If you haven’t registered your kindergartener-to-be, now’s the time. Call your prospective school for enrollment specifications. It’s also the time to review any information you’ve received from the school. Are there any forms you need to complete? Does your child need a doctor’s physical or a visit to the dentist? Most school districts’ websites provide the essential details and necessary documents.

Three Weeks

Plan two shopping trips: one for a back-to-school wardrobe and the other for academic supplies. When buying clothing, focus on practical garments in which your kids can run, jump and make messes. For supplies, you probably received a list of suggested purchases from your child’s teacher. Stick to required materials and pay attention to details. If the list says pre-sharpened colored pencils, there’s probably a reason.

Two Weeks

Do a dry run of the first day of school. Choose a time that works for everyone and try to make it as realistic as possible. Set alarm clocks, wake up early and go through the morning routine. If you’ll be driving, park in an appropriate spot. Many car lots are reserved for teachers and staff. You may be surprised how long it takes to park and coax your 5 year old up the steep hill and into the school. If the building is open, find your tot’s classroom and explain to your little one this is where you’ll be saying your goodbyes on the first day. Give him a chance to express his feelings. Is he excited or nervous? Are there any concerns he wants to discuss? After the dry run, do a recap. How did your routine work? Did you make it to school on time? What could you do better?

Ten Days

Since bedtimes are later during the long days of summer, now is the time to transition to the school-sleep schedule. Have your child go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night until the academic year begins.

Seven Days

Even the most courageous kids can find kindergarten daunting on the first day. Plan ahead and make a memento your child can take with him. For example, read the Kissing Hand (Child & Family Press) with your child. Afterward, create a kissing hand by tracing his hand and cutting it out. Put a lipstick kiss on the cutout or write a sweet message. Let your child take it to school and keep it in his pocket on day one.

Two Days

Label anything and everything, including backpacks, pencil kits and crayon boxes. Next, pack your newly marked goodies into the backpack to ensure your kid is prepared when three other classmates show up with the same lunchbox.

One Day

Do anything you can today instead of tomorrow. Pick out your young scholar’s outfit. Pack lunch and a snack. Also, don’t forget to charge your camera’s battery since you’re going to be taking a ton of pictures! Finally, be sure your son or daughter goes to bed early. Tomorrow is a big day and a good night’s sleep is key.

Kindergarten Day

You did it! You’ve done everything you need to do. Try to relax and enjoy the moment. If something doesn’t go according to plan, just take a deep breath and go with the flow. It’s more important to appreciate the day than to stress about details. This is a wonderful milestone and the beginning of a new era for you and your little one.