Navigating Kindergarten: A Guide for Parents and Children

Tips for the first day of school and beyond

A New Day: Kindergarten Is Here
Kindergarten round-ups are in full swing. Does your little one start Kindergarten this fall? Are you a first-time Kindergarten parent and a bit nervous of what’s about to come?

In the following guest post, Angela Kendall, author of the critically acclaimed book “A New Day: Kindergarten Is Here", provides tips on how to have a great kindergarten experience:  

Tips for a great kindergarten experience

by Angela Kendall

As parents, we are full of anticipation from the moment we find out we are expecting our tiny miracles.  The milestones we envision in our heads come along much faster than we had hoped. Sitting up, crawling, their first words, walking, talking, becoming the best version of themselves right before our eyes. We are so proud watching them grow and seeing them gain confidence and being independent…. until one of the biggest milestones of all comes along…KINDERGARTEN!!

We get approximately 1825 days to enjoy our little ones before sending them out into the great big world without us, to navigate life on their own. What makes this such a big deal? For starters, kindergarten is going to shine a spotlight on not just our children, but on us as parents. How did we do?  Are they prepared? Will they be kind to others? Will they respect their teacher? Will they be scared? Will they be okay without us? How will they cope with the new routine? Add all of this to the added pressure of getting that perfect “first day of school” picture for social media – it’s a big deal!  

We power through the weeks leading up to this new day preparing and organizing: Picking out backpacks, lunch boxes, clothes, supplies, and scheduling orientations – all while the thought of leaving our little one alone on the first day of school makes us feel incredibly vulnerable.  You can imagine that if our emotions as parents are all over the place, our children must be feeling some of the same feelings but may not know how to express them to us.

My latest book “A New Day: Kindergarten Is Here” was inspired by the desire to bridge the gap between parents and children as important milestones come along. Communicating and connecting with your children during these special times can make ALL the difference in how they approach not just the first day of school, but any new journey. Books are a great way to open conversations in a safe environment and will encourage your children to engage with you about the topic at hand. Letting them know that you get nervous too sometimes will ease their minds and help them to discuss any insecurities they may have.   

In addition to communication, my family (of six) has really thrived by keeping up with our routine – even when school began. I can’t stress enough how important a day-to-day routine is for your little ones. It lets them know what to expect, while keeping the stress to a minimum for you as parents.

  • Waking your children up at least one hour before they need to leave for school to be sure they are not feeling rushed is a great rule to follow.
  • Allow them plenty of time to relax, eat breakfast, and look their best before heading out the door. 
  • Try to keep the conversations very positive and uplifting (which I know can be challenging when we are exhausted!)  

The routine after school is equally as important. 

  • Schedule set times for homework, dinner, free play, and a solid bedtime routine.
  • Spend time together as a family and engage with your child by asking what they’ve learned and how their day was. I think we all know that not every day will be great, but having open communication will make it easy for your child to express all emotions - not just the fun stuff!! 

Again, this will build your child’s confidence, and create clear expectations. As a mom of four, I can honestly say that it never gets easier sending our kids out into the big world. I know for me it always feels like the end of an era…our babies are growing up. It’s okay to be sad, but you can also embrace the excitement that comes along with the first day of school. Have faith that you’ve done enough, you’ve prepared them enough, and that YOU are enough – and that your child will conquer kindergarten like a champ. I can tell you that my kindergartener absolutely LOVES school and is so excited for each new day.   

My Friends and I book

Sweet surprise for the first day of Kindergarten

The My Friends and I book by Life Is Better With Friends, which travels from friend to friend, is a great way for your child to get to know their Kindergarten peers and make new friends at school. With questions like: “What is your favorite food? What do you like to do in your free time? What songs do you like to listen to? What books do you like to read? What do you want to be when you grow up?” filled out by everyone in class, your child will quickly find out more about their classmates and teachers.

Your child's kindergarten class may uncover fascinating tidbits about each other, sparking interesting conversations. Your child may discover that some classmates live nearby or share similar interests, inspiring them to try new activities such as sports, music, art, or cooking.

Surprise your child on their first day of Kindergarten with a My Friends and I book (get 20% off with promo code HERO until the end of April). Help your Kindergartener fill out the first three pages and have the book make the rounds in the family. Then, once everyone has had a chance to settle in, your kiddo can take the book to school and start learning more about their new classmates and teachers!


Kindergarten options in and around Austin

Are you looking for Kindergarten options in the ATX? Check out our Kids Directory for Public Kindergarten and Private Kindergarten options in the Austin area.

For younger siblings, we also have a list of Day Cares, Drop-in Child Care, Mothers Day Out, Preschools, and Pre-Kindergarten.

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