If your first-born is starting school this year, you may be feeling a little bit overwhelmed (naturally – this is a big step!) and you may be a touch unsure about what they really need. No, your newly-minted kindergartener doesn’t need a heck of a lot, but there are a few things that will help them start the year off successfully.
Here’s what veteran moms and teachers tell us are the only things you really need before your little one heads to class (sniff).
1. A Large Backpack
Yes, they’re still so wee, but your kiddo does need to graduate from the mini-backpack they wore to daycare. The teacher will be sending home calendar sheets, newsletters and permission forms in letter-sized folders. Make a production of shopping for a new big-kid backpack together, and be sure it can hold a lunch bag, water bottle and change of clothes. Here’s a round-up of some of our favourites for 2017.
2. Labels for Everything
School hallways and playgrounds can be like black holes for everything from water bottles to rain coats. One of our kids’ misplaced two pairs of orange snow pants in one winter. It’s well worth the money to order custom labels that go on shoes, lunch containers, clothing and backpacks. And one of our favourite picks is Mabel’s Labels.
3. A Good (But Inexpensive) Lunch Bag
While it may be fun to have a super cute one, keep in mind that lunch bags might go missing at school. You could be better off buying two affordable models for school mornings when one is MIA or just too caked in banana to face. Here are our favourite options for this year.
4. Containers They Can Open
Take our word for it. Your kids—and their teacher—will be glad you bought lunch containers they can manage on their own. Containers like Sistema and Yumbox Bento Boxes are widely known to be easier for little hands to open. Tip: Have a trial run before school starts.
5. A Leak-Proof Water Bottle
Chances are good that the water fountain is not going to be right outside the kindergarten door. Get a couple of sturdy water bottles in a little-kid appropriate size. We’re big fans of Contigo, EcoVessel and Hydro Flask to name a few.
6. Extra Clothes in a Labelled Bag
Accidents happen and there’s nothing kindergarten teachers want to stress more than just how important it is that you send a full set of extra clothes (including socks for puddle-related incidents), and then keep it replenished and updated seasonally as needed.
7. Indoor Shoes & Gym Shoes
Your kids will need to change out of their outdoor boots or shoes and into an indoor pair each and every morning, as well as at recess, lunch time and after school. So you’ll want to be sure that they’re easy for your little one to get on and off. You’ll also want to make sure they have a pair of shoes that are suitable for all the running around they’ll do in gym class.
8. Immunization Records
You were probably asked for it at registration time, but if you haven’t shared your child’s updated vaccine record, you’ll want to track that down before the first day of school or get on the phone with the doctor’s office to get a copy.
Here’s to a successful first year for your (big) little one!
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