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Survival Guide for Parents with Kids starting Kindy!

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.netImage courtesy of freedigitalphotos.netSending your child to big school for the first time can be a daunting experience. That is why we have collated some of the best tips to get your child (and you!) ready for their first school year.

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Uniform, Stationery & School Bags

  •  Don’t buy too many uniforms until you know how many you need with your washing routine. Many mums with daughters find that 2 dresses and 2 sport shirts (with one summer shorts/skirts and one winter sport pants) is plenty.  Whilst those with boys have 4 white shirts, 2 shorts and one sport uniform (with one shorts and one winter pants). However, get to know the school’s return to find out what days they are required to wear each uniform.

  •  School uniforms can be expensive when they are exclusively bought from the school’s uniform shop. However, there are items of the uniform that do not contain a school emblem (such as shorts/pants, sport shorts/skirts, stockings, white tops for under tunics etc.) that can be sourced from local retail chains. It is recommended that you sus out what items can be bought elsewhere, before committing to purchase from the uniform shop. Also, don’t underestimate the value of second hand uniforms –  with the speed children grow at, it will be fine!

  •  Discreetly pack spare underwear, socks and shorts in your child’s bag. Let your child and teacher know that they are in the bag. This will help eliminate any embarrassment if accidents occur (some schools do keep spare uniforms handy – just in case).

  • Shop Backpacks here! Shop Backpacks here!  If your child will be attending a school where the bags all look the same, purchase a keyring (or tie a ribbon) to place on their bag. This will be very useful in preventing them picking up someone else’s school bag by mistake. It is also a good idea to adjust all the straps and eliminate unnecessary items from the big – they will be expected to carry it themselves.

  • It’s a fine line between your child outgrowing shoes too fast and needing to spend more to buy quality shoes that will last vigorous activity. Many mums find it helpful to purchase the better quality shoes (leather outer, synthetic upper) that will not hurt their child’s feet during the school year instead of at the beginning (sometimes sales are better mid-year and it saves you having to splurge out when everything else is due). Use Velcro shoes if laces are not yet conquered

  •  Keep in mind that children sit on the ground with their legs crossed a fair bit and therefore may wear the buckle down on sandal school shoes. You need to ensure that your school will allow these types of shoes as some don’t for OH&S reasons (especially if involved in cooking, gardening classes).

  •  Begin teaching your child how to use a zipper and tie their laces as soon as possible. This will help ensure they know how to open and close their bag, fix their shoe laces, open pencil cases, and put on and off a jacket. However, if your child cannot quite master this – don’t fret! Teach them to ask a teacher for help.

  • Label everything! If it can be detached from your child’s body it needs a label. A simple laundry marker will outlive most labels.If the item is expected to be used for multiple years, avoid putting your child’s class on it. However, listing the class with your child’s name has a higher possibility of it being returned.

  •  Avoid letting your daughter’s (or son’s) long hair to be kept down. Unfortunately head lice loves finding its way into schools and can easily attach itself to hair that is not tightly pulled back. Having loose hair can also get in the way for kids who are actively playing or who are hot and not able to put their hair up by themselves.

  • Buy 2 hats, maybe three. But make it your child’s job to look after their hat. This is the first real bit of responsibility they are given at school, especially with the “not hat, no play” policy.

  • Stationery & Books: Don’t go overboard with expensive items, they will more than likely go missing. Be sure to label everything! Every pencil, texta, book etc. They can all go walk-abouts and become very hard to identify when another child has the same one. Label things permanently. If your child has text books write their name on the cover and then on a specific page number (your child’s birthdate or house address).

Goodbyn Bynto Lunchbox $17.95Goodbyn Bynto Lunchbox $17.95Lunch Boxes

  • Practice having recess, lunch (and ‘crunch and sip’) at the same times school will be having it. This will help your child become familiar with the routine and learn how to ‘pace’ themselves with the mealtimes. If you can give your child their lunch snacks in the lunch box, they can practice selecting which items they want at each time and not feel pressured to eat it all in one go. Finally, the advantage of practicing lunch at home allows you to ensure that they know how to open their lunch box (and if not, time to practice).

  • In summer, half fill the water bottle and freeze. In the morning fill the rest with water. The water will stay cool all day and saves having the extra weight of an icepack to keep lunch cool

  • Make sure they know how to open food packaging. If something is difficult put a little snip in the top of the packet so they can tear it easily.

  • Purchasing two lunchboxes may be helpful if one goes missing or is out of action due to being washed, for this same reason avoid buying the fanciest box. Always make sure the lunch box can easily be opened and closed otherwise they will either not eat or will place it back in their bag leaving the food to get squashed and very messy.

  • When you are in a rush and don’t want to struggle against glad-wrap, use reuseable ziplock bags – you will not be sorry!

  • Don’t pack too many items in their lunch box, they will get confused and think they have to eat everything. Help them out by telling them which items are for recess, lunch etc.

Emotional Support

  • Get to know the other Mums! Introduce yourself to other parents at the school (there are benefits to befriending first-timers as well as those with other kids already enrolled). These parents can help advise you on anything you are uncertain about, or for emergency pick-ups when you’ve been held up. Many schools also have parent groups on Facebook; check out if you have access to one and if not, start one!

  • Try to remain positive about your child starting big school, they feed off your feelings and can tell when you are anxious. If you really need to, wear sunglasses to hide your tears.

  • Lots of mums get a little upset when they ask their child “how was school today?” and only get told “good” with no other explanation. Try to re-word your question as for them a lot of things probably happened in their day – too many to name individually. Asking them about a good thing that happened that day, or something that made them laugh is a nice way to get around this.

Staying on top of School events, school work & your child’s new found social life

  • Download the school app and subscribe to their mailing list if they have one, this will help you stay on top of everything (especially if you have a child that fails to bring notes home).

  • Have a wall calendar so you can plan events and keep track of due notes, excursions, mufti-days and other school commitments (and your child’s new social life)

  • Develop a system where all school notes are stored, a special tray or filing system. We love ours that is on our door as we leave each day. Each child has a compartment so can be easily located. However, some families take photos of their notes so if they do get lost, they can check their phone.

  • You don’t have to keep all the craft they bring home – find creative ways to display it (use as wrapping paper, take photos and have it displayed in digital photo frames, have one spot as art of the week)

  • Kindy is huge for birthday parties, so don’t feel obliged to attend them all & don’t feel obliged to invite them all either

  • Don’t over commit your child with after school activities until they are in a routine

  • Give cupcakes to the class when it is your child’s birthday, this will make it less of a chore for the teacher.

  • Don’t over commit yourself to helping at the school, it can get tiring and consuming and you will end up stressed

RoutinesShop Routine and Reward Charts HereShop Routine and Reward Charts Here

  • Get your child in a similar routine to school, whether it is through attending preschool or by simply setting up a routine at home (awake by a certain time, morning snack at same time as school etc.)

  • Empty the kids bag at the end of everyday – get your child to help you so they begin to learn to do this independently.

  • Pack lunches and write notes the night before so everything is prepared. If you do this whilst your children are completing homework at the kitchen table, it helps them realise they are not missing out on anything (and then more likely to complete their work).

  • Make sure your child knows how to use a toilet and are familiar with locking and unlocking a door (if the school toilets have these); boys may also need to use a urinal – so help prepare them for this. If you can teach your child about hygiene that is also a bonus.

  • Have a safe pass word so the child knows if a person is really there to pick them up or is just saying that, it may be random like “firecracker” etc

  • If your child will be arriving or leaving school without you, practice, practice and practice the route with them.

Social Skills

  • Practise different social situations before school starts. Role play what would happen if you were left with nowhere to sit in the circle at lunch, were feeling unwell or someone has said something mean (or nice) to them.

  • Encourage their independence at home. This will help them to be less reliant on teachers who are not always readily available.

  • Help your child to recognise their name. This will help them to locate their belongings.

  • Don’t stress if a teacher comes to you with a concern, however do take it seriously. They are most likely brining something to your attention to help your child develop, so take their advice but remember that every child is different.

  • Don’t stress about reading levels, buy your child a magazine about something they are interested in and  they will progress at their own pace.

Most of all, cherish every moment, take lots of photos & enjoy it! If we remember to take time to laugh and smile, the days will get easier.

Best of luck to you!


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