I can't even believe the title of this post; doesn't seem possible. But my oldest son Jack is indeed off to Kindergarten in the fall. I am thrilled for him because he is SO eager and ready (that can be a post in itself) but leaving the bubble of his sweet co-op preschool is going to be a new world for us. I feel beyond blessed to have been part of this amazing co-op and to have forged some great connections and friendships with parents and families. I've been lucky enough to be learning from some experienced moms that have already forged this transition. Here are some great tips I've picked up as well as some product favorites (note I hope you'll comment with your best back to school tips, tricks, & product favorites).
Get in nutrients when their home- With all the excitement and activity of kindergarten (or even just getting back to school) kiddos don't always make it through their lunch box, aim for healthy dinner favorites and add in nutrients where you can, for us a multi-vitamin is key; we like Smarty Pants Multi-Vitamins with Omega 3s and Vitamin D.
Early to bed early to rise for the bus- Summer bed times inevitability seem to get pushed back from time to time, but in the weeks before school starts, getting back to a regular schedule and earlier bedtime is key. We are early risers in this house, but some kiddos also need to adjust to an earlier wake up to catch the bus. I love this Kid'Sleep My First Alarm Clock; my five year old loves practicing telling time and it helps keep the routine.
Find things that help with an efficient and happy morning routine- Maybe it's coming up with quick ways to make breakfast favorites, i.e. overnight oats, smoothies, healthier muffins etc, or maybe it's finding products like a special new toothbrush or a favorite toothpaste that motivate your kiddos. My kids each got a new toothbrush and natural and fun new toothpaste they love from hello Products, which has definitely made teeth brushing less of a chore.
Get a lunch box that is easy to navigate (and identify) - Many new Kindergartners (like mine) haven't had to navigate their lunch box on their own before. I've heard from several moms that a bento box style for lunch and separate little containers inside the lunch bag for snack is the way to go. There are so many brands, styles, and price points to chose from, you're sure to find something that works. My son chose this all in one lunchbox from Pottery Barn Kids (and note I had a good coupon). I like that his name is on the bag, it has a water bottle holder, and I was able to get separate and coordinating containers. I've also heard rave reviews about Planet Box. If you already have a lunch bag, the Yumbox is a great leak-proof option (my preschooler loves this), or there are also cheaper reusable plastic containers that definitely do the trick.
Keep go-to lunch box (and after school) snacks on hand- I find Sundays a good day to get organized for the week. A combination of homemade and ready to open snacks work fro me, i.e. fruit salad, cut veggies and hummus, healthier mini muffins (you can always make ahead and freeze), energy balls and homemade bars, yogurt and granola, yogurt tubes, apple sauce, Annie's Organic snacks, and plum organic kids snacks (my kids love the jammy sammys, go bars, and mash-ups).
Your child may need a bigger backpack than you think! It looks like my son's backpack from preschool just isn't going to cut it for kindergarten. With a good size lunch box, school folders & supplies, extra clothes, and cold weather/snow gear (essential in Maine) we are investing in a larger back pack for sure; now hopefully he can carry it :-) There are tons of options out there, you're sure to find something that will work for you. At the top of our list Pottery Barn Kids, and LLBean.
Appropriate footwear that your kiddo can independently take on and off- Wearing or packing the right footwear for the season/or activities of the day is a no-brainer, but it's also important to make sure your kiddo can get his/her own shoes on and off on their own. Shoe tying practice can be done at home (we are working on this) but Kindergarten teachers have enough going on in their busy classrooms, so do them a favor and send your kiddo in a shoe they can handle themselves (we'll be sticking to slip-ons and Velcro for a while).
Label everything- This is what my son's Kindergarten teacher said in her letter home. Literally label everything that's not attached to them. We love Mabel's Labels; we got the Ultimate Back-To-School Combo, and it's been great. It comes with the perfect amount of fun labels and tags, and my five year old has loved (perhaps to the extreme) labeling all his stuff.
Catch back to school sales- As hard as it is to shop for school when you're still enjoying summer days, there are great sales that happen and can save you money on staples (no need to go over board, but you might as well save on the essentials). A few great spots to check out- French Toast is offering some great sales this season, including 20% today (Tuesday, August 18th) with the code SCHSAVE, and Hanna Andersson is offering up to 40% off back to school clothing and accessories. We also just did a big shop at OshKosh (more on that soon) and was so excited by the amount of clothes I could get for the boys while staying on budget (everything is on sale up to 50%) and I also love their "Give Kids a Leg Up" campaign paying it forward!
Set yourself up to stay organized - with different school schedules, events, after school and weekend activities, using a weekly planner pad is super helpful. I like using the Erin Condren Schedule Pad and writing out our meals, activities, appointments and any other special notes for the week.
Can't wait to hear about your back to school experiences, tips, and favorite products (I hope you'll share). Be sure to stay tuned to the blog over the next month, more #backtoschool posts to come!
Thanks as always for stopping by!
I'm Rebecca, a Maine mom of three energetic young boys and wife of a lobsterman, living in my favorite place, the coast of Maine. You'll find me here talking about my parenting journey, mom style, recipes, running and exercise, travel, stories from our life in Maine and so much more! Most days I'm just figuring it out as I go - Thanks so much for stopping by!