While the sun hasn’t quite set on summer, the first day of school always seems to roll around before any of us is quite ready. A little planning ahead is always smart. Whether it’s “off to school” for the first time, or “back to school,” your kids may be feeling a mix of emotions – excitement, anxious, a little unsure. (You may be, too!) So, we’ve created a checklist of tips to help make the summer-to-school transition easier for everyone.
How do I prepare my child for their first day of kindergarten?
Congratulations! The first day of kindergarten is a major milestone. Here are a few ways to turn your little one’s anxiety into excitement about the big day.
Plan a school visit
Take your little student-to-be on a walk through the school, look in their classroom, meet with their teacher and principal, if possible. Just knowing ahead of time where to put their gear, where the lunchroom and bathrooms are, will be reassuring. Be sure to call ahead about timing your visit.
Some school districts offer kindergarten readiness programs. Think of them as kindergarten 101, where kids can get familiar with their new school, the staff, and take part in learning activities.
Plan a playdate
Some kids are shy about meeting new people and making friends. Ask around the neighborhood to see if others might be in the same class. If so, plan a playdate so your child will find a familiar face or two on the first day. Even if you don’t find others in the same specific class, a playdate is a good way for little ones to get more comfortable interacting with new people.
It’s a time-tested ritual! There’s nothing like a new dress, fun sneakers or backpack to get your kindergartener excited about going to school. We’ve highlighted a few clothing items your little scholar might love (and be sure to check out our whole back-to-school collection).
Dresses and two-piece sets are huge winners in our books when it comes to school clothes. They’re all-day-comfy, make mornings run smoother, and go with whatever her favorite footwear happens to be that day: sneakers, Mary Janes or funky boots. Our sweet Primrose Dress is lightweight, so girls stay comfy and cool on days when the calendar says “school” but the weather still says “summer.” Another favorite is our Playskater Mermaid Dress & Shorts Set. With knit shorts underneath, she doesn’t have to worry about playing hard or sitting on the floor with friends. Yes, that sparkly mermaid’s pretty appealing, too.
For pure comfort, it’s hard to beat leggings and bike shorts. You’ll find lots of cool school-ready pairs to top with just about anything. Our bike shorts sport a wider-than-most waistband that won’t twist or roll, and come in fun colors. They earn an “A” for play, too – bring on the monkey bars, cartwheels and playground tag!
Tee time! Add a little personality to your son’s wardrobe with a stack of fun graphic tees. Serve up this playful Hot Dog Tee – it never fails to bring out friendly smiles. Or try this Rock Out Black Tie-Dye Tee, perfect for any little hipster you might know. For a vintage look, score our Lightning Vintage Black Football Jersey Tee. Both make classic shorts and jeans a little bit edgier.
Educational books spell “smooth transition”
Anytime a big transition’s coming up, it’s good to read all about it with your child so he or she knows what to expect. Two great choices on our bookshelf are Conquering Pre-Kindergarten and Conquering Kindergarten. These teacher-approved workbooks are filled with activities to keep kids engaged and learning, so they’ll feel confident from Day One.
My kids are heading back to school – how can I help them prepare?
Get organized now – it’ll pay off by the time the school bell rings. Use these tips to help your kids get prepped and set for the busy days ahead.
- Set a routine: Starting a couple weeks before the school year begins, gradually ease your kids back into daily routines. Wake them a bit earlier each day, get them to bed earlier. And set regular mealtimes they’ll need to adjust to once school starts.
- Stock up on fun school supplies: They make kids of just about any age more excited for school! Find creative, colorful notebooks, folders pens and markers, stickers, bookmarks – whatever’s on their school supplies list. A cool backpack that fits their personality is a must. If you’ve got a Harry Potter fan, for example, check out this roomy backpack with the official Gryffindor school crest. Holds tons of stuff, with room for a magic potion or two. Batman fans can show up toting a backpack with the Caped Crusader’s logo. (Black cape optional.)
- Help them get organized: To head off potential headaches, create a large master calendar for your household and keep it in a prominent spot. Add all key school dates, big school events, project due dates, after-school meetings, music lessons, sports practices, school lunch menus, even your family’s commitments to avoid scheduling conflicts. Whew! Everyone will know what’s what, and when.
It's all about the outfit
As we said earlier, there’s nothing like a fun new outfit to get kids (or any of us, to be honest) excited and ready to go. Even just a favorite new hoodie, pair of sneakers, or tee can do the trick. Here are a few styles your own kids might love…and don’t miss our entire back-to-school collection.
You can’t go wrong with these go-with-everything Freya Jeans for girls. They’re softened and distressed in all the right places, for just the right “cool factor,” according to girls. Another popular choice for back-to-school is our Smiley Black Overalls. Complete with glittery accents and so cute with sneakers or boots. How adorable is this Penelope Tee? Feels supersoft, has rainbows and fun crossover hem detail. She can pair it with jeans, skirts, leggings – whatever suits her fancy.
Boys will like the Camden Tee with cool layered look. Keeps a guy comfortable if your school has overly air-conditioned classrooms. Plus, it works basically the entire school year. For a hoodie that’s edgier than most, try this High Street Painter’s Camo look. It’s earning high marks from the boys we know. Graphic tee fans can rock this Peace Sign Tee with jeans, shorts, joggers or just about anything in their closet. As for pants, our Black Skinny Twills give him stretchy comfort for whatever he’s up to, plus they make a nice change from blue jeans. Even better, you’ll be putting them with holiday outfits, too, when the time comes.
Good-bye summer, hello school!
A few back-to-school jitters are normal for anyone. But with a little planning, going from summer to school will have your little students looking forward to their new adventure. And relax, they’ll be teens soon enough!