Getting Ready for Full Day Kindergarten

I cannot believe that one week from today, the children will be heading back to school and summer will officially be over.

Back to school time is always a very emotional time for me. I remember the nerves that escaleted within me, when I was a child, during the month of August as school approached. Then, when I became a teacher, those nerves turned into an anxious excitement. I never sleep the night before school, to this day! And now, as a parent, the nerves and anxiousness has taken on a completely new feel.

My daughter will be heading into grade three this year. I cannot believe how much she has grown. She is finally feeling rather confident about going back to school, but it has been a LONG four years to get to this point (we have JK and SK if you were struggling with the math!). This year, while she does have a few worries, they are not major and they have not taken over her summer, whereas in the past, the month of August has been quite a challenge.

My son will heading to school full time for the first time this fall. While I have no doubt that after the first day of school, his transition should be ok, it is the full day, every day aspect that has me worried. My son still naps. Yes, at the age of 4, almost 5, he continues to require a nap many days in order to make it through the day.

We have started to cut out his naps and each day, he is progressively getting more and more tired. I’m hoping that by the time next week rolls around, his body will be more accustomed to this new routine. Last year, when he was only every other day, I had to meet him at the bus with a snack because he was literally exploding after school and I learned that I could hold off his explosions (at least until we got in the house) with food. This year, I anticipate that I might be carrying him off of the bus. Only time will tell.

Here are some tips for Back to School for Young Children:

  1. Start getting your children into routine NOW, the week before school.
  2. Have your children practise opening and closing lunch containers and bags.
  3. Think about your system for after school (e.g. where will they put their bag, their lunch, their school work, important notes etc.)
  4. Label everything!
  5. Have sunscreen ready to put on your child’s face before they head off to school, the sun can still be strong this time of year and most children will spend an hour during “prime time” out in the sun.
  6. For younger children, pick out an older outfit that you can send to school as their “back up outfit”.

If your child is feeling overly anxious about heading back to school, you could take them for a “walk through” at the end of this week where you pretend when they wake up that it is the first day of school. You go through the same morning routine, right up to taking them to school and walking up to the door that they will go inside on the first day of school. For some children, this walk through is enough to calm their nerves and reassure them that everything will be ok.

I have written a few posts about children entering Kindergarten in the past. As a former Kindergarten teacher and now a mother to a Kindergarten student, I have a lot to share…
Kindergarten Parents Support Group
Getting Ready for Full Day Kindergarten
Preparing for Kindergarten – Part 1
Preparing for Kindergarten – Part 2
A Kindergarten Visit – Who Needs More Preparation, Mom or Child?
For all NEW Kindergarten Moms and Dads, This is For YOU!
Back to School – Mommy, I Don’t Want to Go

Don’t forget to get organized with LABELS from Oliver’s Labels by labelling everything that you send to school!
Label Everything
I am an Oliver’s Labels Agent.

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18 Responses to Getting Ready for Full Day Kindergarten

  1. Shari G says:

    It’s a struggle at first, but you both will adjust. My then 4yo took naps daily when he started school full day every day, and now he still naps occasionally but he got use to it. Sounds like you will have more time to visit friends that also work at home to work together!

  2. I can only imagine how hard this must be for a parent. I am not looking forward to this myself nexy year when it will be my daughter’s turn. It scares me to think that I have so little time left with her before turing her over to the next stage in her life. I know she will be fine…but the hurt of letting go is still there.

  3. I am too bad at labeling! I do it at the very last minute! The sunscreen is a very good idea because we can have very hot days during the first day of school

  4. great tips, I should get to labeling my youngest school stuff now that he is starting JK

  5. I am not a full-time kindergarten supporter. I really don’t feel like the rant this morning, LOL My DS5 is proceeding into full time SK this year and mama isn’t happy. I know he can handle it after part-time JK he is ready. However, we were not sending out DS3 to full-time JK this year, so we enrolled him into JK at Montessori for this year. He is too young still naps and a busy boy. I cannot imagine the lack of support he would feel placed into a busy class of 35 full-time JK’s. Just crazy! I am blessed he will enjoy 1:8 for this year, giving him the start he deserves. I could keep ranting but will smile and move on. Great tips!

    • Tammy – I am right there with you that I don’t fully support the FULL DAY every day Kindergarten program. When I taught Kindergarten, the afternoons were often a wash as far as educational content went because they were so tired already and they were only seeing me every other day!

  6. Nolie says:

    I really should be getting him into a better routine. Over the summer we have made him go in his room at bedtime but didn’t have to go to sleep. Guess I should start working on that.

  7. Bonnie Way says:

    Thanks for sharing! My daughter is starting Kindergarten this year and she’s so excited for it! She’s a social butterfly so I’m not terribly worried about her, especially since our school takes about three weeks to ease into the full-time schedule. I should start our routine, though, so I know we can get out the door on time next Tuesday… 🙂

  8. Cheryl says:

    It’s totally stressful for me! Even though this is year 2 of both my girls in full day school. (My eldest is going into grade 1 and my youngest SK) It should be a very interesting year!

  9. Jodi Shaw says:

    Great post, my son is going into grade 2 and I remember the first day of kindergarden, not sure who was more nervous. Love the tips as transitioning from summer to school can take some getting used to for everyone! 🙂 Good luck on your first day!

  10. Dawn B says:

    Those were great back to school tips, thanks for sharing! You seem to have a good handle on it probably due to your experience with anxious parents every year. I think usually the first day of Kindergarten is more stressful for the parent than the child lol

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  17. Victoria Ess says:

    Those are some really great tips! Thanks for the links!

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