Last summer, just before Emily started junior kindergarten at one of Toronto’s public schools, I was extremely nervous. She seemed so young to be going to school.
I didn’t know what the transition from a small daycare center to a big school would be like. We moved from a small class with three very supportive teachers and lots of attention to a bigger class. In this larger class, kids were expected to follow the rules and be very independent for their age.
After only 2 weeks or so into the school year, my child was happy at school. She is very excited about all of her new friends and the new things that she learns every day.
Today with my post, I would like to help you prepare your child for their Junior Kindergarten class. I made a checklist of the things you need to teach your kid before he starts kindergarten, stuff you need to buy, and things you can practice together to help him do well.
This post also contains affiliate links. I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
How To Prepare My Child For Kindergarten
These are the four most essential routines your child must know how to do before the first day of school.
#1 Getting dressed without help
Teach your child to get dressed without help. Your child should know how to put his jacket on and take it off, change their shoes and change their clothes in case of a toilet accident.
Tip: Get your child dress in comfortable clothes for school. No buttons if possible or elements, they won’t be able to do without help.
#2 Being toilet trained
Children should be able to go to the toilet independently and must be able to wipe and clean themselves. It is ok to have accidents once or twice, but it can’t be regularly. Be aware that teachers are not allowed to help your kids while they are using the toilet.
Tip: Most children at the age of 4 do not know how to clean themselves perfectly. So don’t worry about that and just put an extra effort when you do laundry.
#3 Eat without help
Teach your kid to eat without assistance. That includes opening and closing containers on their own, wiping his face, understanding what they are having for lunch, and what’s for snacks.
Tip: During the summer, do a few practices runs with the lunch bag and box. You can serve your child lunch or dinner using the lunch box and practice using the containers.
#4 Nap Weaning
The school day in Ontario starts around 8:15 am and finishes around 3:15 pm. That means that kids don’t have naps anymore like they used to have at the daycare. Although it is a significant change, kids will adjust quickly to these changes.
Tip: You can ask the daycare stuff to not put your child down for a nap during the last few weeks of summer. However, some kids will go to sleep anyway once the class is dark and quiet.
Your child will be very tired during the first few weeks of school, so start your evening routine one hour earlier. This way, your child can get enough sleep and be ready for the next day.
What do Kindergarten students need for school?
Although you don’t need to purchase school supplies, there are a few items your child must have before their first day of Kindergarten
Your child’s backpack needs to be small enough for their size, but big enough to carry1 binder and their lunch bag.
Amazon has a good selection of kindergarten backpacks online. Walmart Canada also has great backpacks for kindergarten during their Back to School event. The Back to School event happens every year during the last two weeks of August.
#2 Lunch Bag
Lunch bags need to be big enough to include 1 lunch and 2 snacks.
We use a Thermos lunch bag. It is easy to clean and comes with different cartoons that kids just love.
#3 Lunch Containers
As I said earlier, your child should be able to open and close his containers alone.
Most of the children at the kindergarten class use Sistema containers, as they are easy to open/close and are still leak proof.
For a hot lunch, we use a Thermos container. We heat the food in the morning, and it is still warm by lunchtime.
#4 Bottle of water
An insulated bottle of water is recommended to keep the water at the right temperature during the cold winter days and the hot summer days.
Make sure the bottle isn’t leaking. Otherwise, your child’s backpack and their stuff will get wet.
We use the Thermos bottle– it is very easy to open and leak-free. You can also purchase an extra pair of straws if you need too. This way, the bottle can last forever.
#6 Name Labels
At school, you need to label everything! If you don’t have a name tag on your item, there is a good chance that you won’t see it again. Many of the kids will have the exact same item as your child. My daughter’s Paw Patrol shoes are also being worn by three other girls in her class who have the same colour and shoe size. There is no way she can find her own shoes without labels.
Here are the items you would need to label for kindergarten
- All clothing: Shirts, Pants, Hat, Jacket.
- Winter clothes: Snow pants and winter jacket, mittens and gloves, a hat and a neck-warmer.
- Shoes: Indoor shoes, Outdoor shoes, Winter boots, Rainboots
- Bottle of water
- Lunch bag
- Lunch Containers
- Fork and Spoon
- Any other item you send to school and wish to see again 😉
Labels should be able to go into the dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer! For this reason, you need a good set of waterproof labels.
I’m thrilled with my Mable’s Labels tags. After one year of use, I can say that all the labels are still in place.
You can order one pack of school labels with your child’s name and personal design. Mable’s Labels Ultimate Back-to-School Combo includes 126 labels and 2 tags- It will last you till the end of the school year!
Kids need indoor running shoes all year round. Outdoor running shoes are required in the summer and winter boots during wintertime. Make sure your child can put on his shoes by himself. It is recommended to have a hook and loop strap instead of a shoelace.
#7 Extra clothing
On the first day, you need to send extra clothes in a Ziploc bag.
Make sure you have one of each: shirt, pants, socks, underwear. Write your child’s name on the bag and make sure everything is labelled with your child’s name
How to help your child do well at Kindergarten
Here are a few things you can practice at home with your child to help him or her get ready for Kindergarten class:
- Read to your child every day. Let your child hold the book and flip the pages.
- Practice the use of crayons, scissors, and glue.
- Exercise with your child so they can recognize their name when written.
- Practice one and two-step directions.
- Train holding a pencil.
- Practice opening/closing lunch box and containers.
- Practice toilet routines: using the toilet, wiping their bottom, and washing their hands.
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