The first day of school is an event that both parents and their kids look forward to. Though undeniably exciting, this day can be bittersweet for the parents who have to send their kiddos out into the big wide world on their own for the first time.

So, just when is it that you’ll be dropping them off at school for the first time ever? If your child is still in their infant stages, you may be wondering how long you have until the day comes that you must send them off to class. 

By the time that big day comes, you want to make absolutely sure you have done everything that you can to completely prepare both you and your kiddo for this important life step. But where do you even start? What will they need for when the time comes, and how can you help both them and yourself prep mentally and physically for this transition?

Here’s all of the info you’re going to need on how to prepare for the first day, from what to wear to what to eat and how long you have until that day comes.

What Age Will They Start?

Before we get into what steps you need to take to prepare them (and yourself), we’re going to need to know how old your kiddo is going to be when they start school. The question of “what age does my kid start school?” has a few different answers, specifically based on what level you want to start them going to school and what state they’re going to school in.

For Preschool

This is typically the youngest that a parent can enroll their child in some type of school program. If you want to go the preschool route, you can enroll your child as early as 2.5-3 years old. 

If you’re not sure if preschool is right for your child, there are a few factors to take into account to make sure it’s a good call for them. These include communication style, social aptitude, and even nap time requirements.

For Kindergarten

Many kids start school in kindergarten, though it is not technically the compulsory age required by many states. You can enroll your children in kindergarten as young as five years old, depending on their birthday, and some states don’t even require districts to offer a kindergarten program. 

As for birthday requirements, they usually require the 5th birthday to be sometime in August or September, with only Colorado requiring a birthday before October first. Some states do require kids to go to kindergarten, so it really all depends on where you live.

For First Grade

First grade is the latest time you can enroll your kids in school. Again, age requirement varies by state, but in most cases, the compulsory age begins at either 6 or 7 years old. 

Preparing Before the Day

So now that you know when you’re going to have to finally send the kids to school, you need to consider how to prepare in the days, weeks, even months before that day comes. Once you get all the basic stuff figured out, you can get excited with your child about this new era in their life! 

Supplies

School supplies are essential to collect to make the day run as smoothly as possible. Luckily, teachers typically make this checklist easy by putting the supply requirements online. Of course, these requirements are going to vary widely depending on whether your kiddo is starting in preschool, kindergarten, or first grade, but some supplies are pretty universal.

For instance, most kids are going to need things like backpacks, pencils, and markers. Glue, glitter, and other craft supplies are important for fun projects your child may get to do. Also, it’s always good to start your child reading as soon as possible, and many programs have silent reading time built into the school days, so start them off with a few picture books or reading-level-appropriate reading materials. 

If they’re in preschool, you’re going to want to also include things that are unique to your child’s needs for daily functioning. If they still need pull-ups, make sure you include an extra and another pair of pants or shorts in their backpack. A lot of preschoolers are going to experience some separation anxiety since this is the first time they’re going to spend time away from you. Pack something in your child’s backpack that reminds them of you can help them make that transition.

For kindergarten, they’re going to need some supplies for a bit more of a specific workload. Gluesticks, crayons, scissors, and a pencil bag are essential. Since kindergarteners are notorious for getting runny noses, a few packs of tissues are going to be necessary, too.

If they’re starting in first grade, they’re going to be doing more reading and writing, so you’ll need more paper and pencil supplies. Colored pencils, notebooks, and folders will be a new addition to the previous year’s lists. To teach them to have a good hold on their pencil, pencil grips are a nice touch and reduce fatigue. Plus, they look cool!

Clothes

You’ve got the necessities out of the way, so now you get to focus on the fun aspects of that first day—the outfits. If you’re a fan of dressing your kid in cute outfits or if they have already developed their own sense of style, you can gear up for the school year by picking out the cutest, comfiest, and most stylish items of clothing for them to rock.

When you are going shopping for back-to-school clothes, there are a few things to keep in mind. Though fast fashion can be cheap and easy, it’s no secret that the synthetic fibers used to make those clothes are not good for the planet. Try to look for more sustainable clothing options. Picking clothes that take care of the planet will teach your kids important lessons, like caring for our planet and the people on it.

Of course, if they’re going to be running around and playing all day, you’re also going to want to pick some pieces that are super comfortable and durable. By purchasing better-made clothing that is made with sustainable, organic fibers ensures that they can play comfortably all day, and you can relax knowing their clothes won’t rip or tear.

A Healthy Menu

Having healthy, balanced meals prepared for breakfast and lunch on that first day is the secret to a perfect first day. It’s important to make sure you plan these meals ahead of time and prepare as much as possible the night before so that you can make sure there’s nothing in the way of getting them up and going in the morning. 

  • Breakfast:Planning a healthy breakfast for their first day ever of school is the most important thing you can do to set them up for success. A good, balanced breakfast will wake up their brain and body and prepare them for the exciting day that lies ahead.

It’s important that their breakfast includes fiber and protein and is low in sugar to ensure that they can remain focused. This can set a precedent to make healthier choices further down the road. Make sure that you keep healthy options on hand, like oatmeal, fruits, and eggs. For those times when you just can’t seem to get them out of bed, have some yogurt cups or bagged healthy cereal ready to go.

  • Lunch:Since you won’t be there for lunch, you want to make sure it’s healthy and balanced for them. Halfway through the day, their bellies are sure to be grumbling, and a tasty lunch can keep them going for the rest of the day. Lunch doesn’t have to be gourmet, but a good sandwich, some fruit, and maybe a cheese stick will provide some sustenance. Include a thoughtful note to brighten their day.

Try to Relax

Tensions can run high during this huge milestone, so try to take a deep breath and do your best not to get too nervous. Trust that you’ve taught your kiddo everything they need to know and that they can handle this first day that you have prepared them for.


Sources:

Table 5.3. Types of state and district requirements for kindergarten entrance and attendance, waivers and exemptions for kindergarten entrance, by state: 2018

Preschool Age: When Do Kids Start Preschool? | Bright Wheel

Breakfast Basics | Kids' Health


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