This time of year is often filled with a mix of excitement and nerves as thousands of parents across the country prepare to send their little ones to kindy for the first time. It’s not something I’ve had to consider before but this year my eldest is one of the many who will start her schooling! While it seems like just yesterday I held her in my arms for the first time, I can’t quite believe my baby girl is actually old enough to wear a school uniform. In preparing myself (and her!) for this big step, there are a few handy hints I have come across that I wanted to share. So here’s my Top Tips for a Smooth Kindy Transition – and let’s hope they are useful for all of us.
Talk to your daughter about kindy! It sounds obvious, but I don’t mean simply “hey, you are starting kindy soon, are you excited?”. Actually talk about what she will DO at kindy. She will have to listen to the teacher and follow directions. She will get to do lots of playing and fun activities but she is also there to learn new and exciting things about her world. That there will be a routine, she will get morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea breaks.
Speaking of food – take your son shopping with you to purchase a special lunchbox and some snack containers together. Let him pick one out for himself, but make sure he can open and close the lunchbox without any assistance – teachers don’t like to spend recess opening and closing lids for 20 kids! Lids that are attached also means one less item to lose in the playground.
Many schools are “wrapper free” so look for lunch boxes with little compartments to hold little snacks. We bought one of the amazing leak-proof Yumbox lunch boxes from Little Bento World and cannot wait to start filling it with tasty lunches.
A school bag is another essential item for starting school – but don’t go overboard! Leave the enormous backpacks for later years when they will need to lug tons of homework home each day. Specific toddler-sized backbacks are much more suitable at this age.
Our next tip relates to something we know lots about at Tiptoe & Co – shoes! Make sure your child can put their shoes on and off by themselves. Velcro straps are great for this purpose, but if you prefer a laced style then you need to teach them to tie their laces as well.
In addition to fastening shoes themselves you also want them to put their shoes on the right feet. This is where our Shoezooz come in super handy. By matching up the simple animal puzzle on Shoezooz your kindy kids will put their shoes on right, without any help, including while they are at school! There’s also enough space to add a name to each sticker too, making them do double duty as shoe labels.
This tip is for working parents and relates to time. If you are able to, arrange time off work to be able to drop off and pick up your child for their first few days of kindy – it can be a new and scary place. Having Mum or Dad's familiar face there, and for yourself not having to do “drop and run” as you dash to work, will make the world of difference.
Finally – enjoy it! Take lots of “First Day of Kindy” photos and celebrate the fact that you are clearly a parenting superstar to have survived the first 4 or so years of early childhood!