READY OR NOT, HERE SCHOOL COMES!
Back-to-school can be anxiety-inducing for kids AND parents! What do we need? Where do we go? How does everything work?!? Fear not, GCS-Moms, we've compiled a list of helpful tips from our "seasoned" BTS members to ease the transition for first-timers!
SCHOOL SUPPLIES. Most schools offer bulk-purchase options through local fundraisers. However, if you're looking for supplies now, you've probably already missed their deadlines. Search your local ISD website and follow prompts to your school to get a grade-specific list! (Southlake ISD, Grapevine/Colleyville ISD, Keller ISD, Birdville ISD, Lewisville ISD, Northwest ISD)
BACKPACKS – Keep It Simple is the word from our panel of Moms. Amazon and chain store bags had a higher rating by our kids (and a lower price tag) than the "fancy" ones. Gone are our Younger Days of brand obsessions. 🙂 Look for enough storage space for books, a lunch box, and an extra change of clothes. Extra pockets on the sides or front are helpful to separate snacks from lunch.
SEPARATE SNACKS from lunch because these kids WILL eat snacks at lunch time and be empty-handed later! On that note - stock up on reusable food storage bags for back-and-forth snacks.
LUNCH BAGS/BOXES. Bentgo boxes are great for keeping food separated or messy ingredients contained. Depending on your kid's appetite, though, they don't store as much food as a regular lunch bag. Ignore the earlier comment about skipping designer backpacks (only it comes to lunch) and splurge on the Pottery Barn lunch bags. Word on the street is that they are practically indestructible! Don't forget to practice opening and closing them at home before the big First Day!
WATER BOTTLES. Get about five leak-proof bottles (so you aren't scrambling to find/wash them mid-week)! Make sure the lids/locks are easy for little hands to open by themselves. Camelback has a great line of soft-spout bottles that require only a few pieces and are easy to clean thoroughly. Yeti Ramblers are easy to open and customizable. Thermos Funtainers are also very easy for little hands to open!
LABEL EVERYTHING. Backpacks, snack bags, lunch boxes, and bottles. Plan a "branding" party before school starts and pop your Little's name on EVERYTHING. Don't forget jackets, umbrellas, hats, and whatever tends to come on and off regularly! Our Moms recommended Mabel's Labels and Namebubbles. Or peruse Pinterest and make your own!
SHOES. Send your child to school in shoes they can tie or fasten on their own! Their teacher will thank you for it!
CALENDAR. Add all school holidays, early release days, and events to your calendar for the ENTIRE year right away!
JOIN THE PTA. Several of our Moms commented that it's the best way to quickly learn how "things" work, meet other parents, and stay involved in your kid's early education!
Follow the school's recommended procedure for drop off. It'll be hard for a few days, but these teachers are PROS. Crying/screaming kiddo? We promise, they'll be distracted + redirected and playing within minutes.
Get the scoop or do some advanced recon for your carpool/dropoff lane etiquette!
We also found these wonderful tips online about projects to tackle at home to prepare for school!
How to open and close containers. Specifically the kind you’ll put in their lunch boxes.
How to pinch and tear packaging. (Pre-packaged snacks, ketchup packets, etc)
How to put a straw into a Capri sun pouch.
It will take your child’s teacher a long time to circulate around the lunch table to assist. That means less time your child has to eat. Also, your child’s teacher would really love to eat too 🙂
How to take off a jacket so that the sleeves don’t get pulled through. How to fix the jacket if the sleeves do get pulled through. How to zip it up.
How to zip and snap or button pants.
Your child will be the holy grail of their class if they can tie their shoes.
TO GO TO THE BATHROOM WITH THE DOOR CLOSED. Lawd. Please teach them this. It may be no big deal at home, but it will be at school if they expose themselves to an entire classroom full of their friends.
How to pump soap. How to properly wash their hands. How to turn the sink off and dry their hands.
How to wait and take turns.
How to share. How to compromise.
How to listen and follow 2 step directions. (First, take your jacket off. Then put it on the hanger) If you want to get crazy - try 3 step!
Build vocabulary with them! Talk to them. Use big words. Explain that they mean. When they start to learn to read, it’ll be much easier for them to identify a word that is already in their vocabulary.
Help them build their own language and memory by reflecting. Tell them what you need at the grocery store. When you get there, ask “What did we come to the store for?”
Make them ask a question! Don’t let them say “I’m thirsty” and hand them a glass of water. You are being their problem solver, rather than having them find their own solutions. Teach them to ask for what they need. “Can I please have a glass of water?”
Talk very intentionally about strategies to deal with emotions.
“When you’re feeling scared, let’s try doing box breaths.”
“If you’re feeling sad, what’s something happy that you could think about to cheer you up?”
As an early childhood teacher, your child will be ready to learn if you can just work on these things. All the academic stuff will come! You don’t need to pound their tiny brains full of memorized facts. Just work with them in developing as a tiny human 🙂 Parents of upcoming kindergarteners - starting school can be scary, but we can do hard things! ♥️
We'd love any advice or input you have to make the next month"first days" as successful as possible! Comment below and let us know how it goes!