This post is sponsored by General Mills and Nestle™, but all opinions are my own.
In less than two weeks, my little girl starts Kindergarten. Typing that out is pretty surreal, because that whole “time is a thief” cliche people throw around about having kids is absolutely true. I don’t feel like she was a baby that long ago, and now she’s completed preschool and is off to elementary. It’s emotionally intense to think about putting her on a bus and waving goodbye on that first day, but I’m also incredibly happy for her. She is happy too, and can’t wait to start at her new school, but she’s also admitted to me that she’s (understandably) a little nervous for this brand new adventure.
In an attempt to replace anxiety with excitement, we have been doing some things to help get her pumped for Kindergarten. And they seem to be working! So I thought I’d share these tips with all of you, in case you have a little one starting kindergarten (or school for the first time) as well.
1. Attend kindergarten orientation.
Most elementary schools offer some sort of optional orientation and I highly recommend going. My daughter’s was a three session program offered once a month for three months in the spring, and we attended all of them. She was very nervous and clingy when we walked in on the first day, even though she is normally quite outgoing and independent. By the end of the first session, her fear was replaced with joy, and by the last session, she couldn’t stop talking about starting school. If you can’t make the specific date(s) for orientation, most schools will allow you to visit on another day.
2. Read books about starting kindergarten.
At her kindergarten orientation in the spring, Essley was given a book about starting kindergarten, and since then, we’ve gotten a few more. Two of our favorites for starting school (that aren’t kindergarten specific so they work for preschool too) are The Kissing Hand and Llama Llama Misses Mama. We also love Kindergarten Is Cool!
3. Go school shopping together.
Getting new clothes, supplies, and food for school is one of our favorite ways to get excited for the upcoming school year. We’re saving the new backpack shopping trip for last, but we’ve already gotten some new clothes, shoes, and started stocking up on food for her lunches and school day breakfasts at Sam’s Club. A few days ago we grabbed the 96 ounce Bisquick Mix for pancakes and 48 ounce package of Honey Nut Cheerios (her favorite breakfasts), as well as some of her favorite snacks to add to her lunches (30 count box of Nature Valley Protein bars, 32 count package of GoGurt, and a case of Nestle™ Pure Life Water). One of the things she’s been worried about is having lunch at school everyday for the first time, but taking a Sam’s Club trip to stock up on some of her most beloved food items has helped set her mind at ease. (Pssst! Right now, you can buy 1 earn 12 Box Tops for Education, exclusively at Sam’s Club. See my next tip for more on this…)
4. Start collecting Box Tops for Education.
In the spring, I attended my first PTO meeting at the school where Essley will be attending kindergarten, and Box Tops were mentioned as an easy way to really help out the school. Afterward, I told Essley all about it, and explained how we could make a difference in getting her school what it needs just by purchasing foods we love. She loved this idea, and couldn’t wait to get started collecting them. (Every single one of the items we bought at Sam’s Club that I mentioned in number 3 above helped us earn Box Tops, by the way.)
And the best part is that now Box Tops are going digital! Instead of having to clip and save actual Box Tops off of items, a quick scan of your receipt with the Box Tops app and it automatically adds to your school’s earnings, which you can see online as soon as you do it. So cool, right? If you don’t have a lot of extra time or money to devote to your kids’ schools, Box Tops are an incredible way to contribute through items that you already have on your grocery list. They’re also a great way to get your child involved and excited. Essley loves checking the products we buy for Box Tops, and the more we collect, the more pumped she gets about her new school. As I mentioned above, right now you can buy 1 earn 12 Box Tops, exclusively at Sam’s Club. Bonus!
5. Play school.
Children learn from role playing, and pretending we’re at kindergarten at home using stuffed animals (and ourselves!) has made our daughter feel not only more comfortable, but also joyful about the upcoming school year. It has been great for practicing writing and math, and has also helped her learn how to handle certain situations that might arise in her new classroom, likes talking to her teacher if she ever feels worried.
6. Talk about it.
As much as we want our little ones to be thrilled about everything in front of them and never feel fear or worry, those emotions are okay too. We have made sure to talk to Essley frequently about her feelings about attending Kindergarten and a new school, have shared stories of our own kindergarten experiences, and have assured her that it’s normal to feel apprehensive. We’ve also told her that even though it might seem scary at first because it’s so new, it will get better everyday. This has really helped her to feel excited about the experience (and helped make us more excited too!).
I hope these tips prove as helpful for you as they have for us. And if you have any tips of your own from when your kids started kindergarten, I’d love to hear them!