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Preparing your kindergartner for the first day of school

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By Marian Wilde

Shopping: take advantage of the sales and stock up

School clothes

It's always a great idea to buy what you know you'll need early, if you can. Go through your child's wardrobe and weed out everything she's outgrown. By reducing the clutter, you will be able to get her dressed quickly and easily.

Keep in mind school dress codes while shopping. Some schools prohibit short skirts and tank tops for girls and "sagging" (baggy trousers that hang low) for boys. Schools may also have rules regarding printed words or phrases on clothes.

School supplies

Although it's difficult to predict what different teachers will require, you can get ahead of the game by buying certain staples. Here's a general list of items that elementary school students usually need:

  • Glue stick
  • Pencils
  • Scissors
  • Washable markers
  • Eraser
  • Box of crayons
  • Kleenex
  • Pocket folders
  • Construction paper
  • School supply box (for storing supplies)
  • Scotch tape
  • Backpack

Nutrition: planning healthy meals

Get creative with easy, healthy ideas for school day meals. If you plan and gather what you need on the weekends, you'll make life a lot less stressful and meals more nutritious during the week.


Remember the most important meal of the day. Fruit smoothies make a quick and healthy addition to the usual fare. How about making a yogurt fruit parfait or a breakfast burrito?


If you will be packing a lunch from home, be sure to have a sturdy lunch box or a supply of paper bags on hand. Here are some quick and creative ideas for making school lunches healthy and fun:

  • Use cookie cutters to make sandwiches into interesting shapes.
  • Sneak vegetables like lettuce, cucumber, or zucchini slices into sandwiches.
  • Buy baked chips and low-fat crackers or pretzels. Avoid items with trans fats in them such as packaged cookies, snack cakes, and regular chips.
  • Choose 1% or fat-free milk or 100% fruit juices.
  • Make fruit fun to eat by cutting it into slices and putting it on a skewer or include small containers of applesauce or pineapple packed in its own juice.
  • Write a surprise message or draw a funny picture and put it in her lunch.


Plan dinners for the week ahead and shop on the weekends to avoid last-minute trips to the grocery store.

Comments from readers

"I really appreciate the information given in this....really useful to everyone who are sending their kids for the first time...Thanks."
"My child will be attending kindergarten this september. This article was very helpful to me in getting her ready for the big day. Thank you for the great tips and idea!"
"My children get up naturally at 6:00 to 6:30 and they go to bed at about 7:45 every night. My daughter is 3 and my son is 5. You might want to start waking her up 10 min earlier every day until your daughter wakes up at 6:20ish. After a few weeks of being woken up at this time she will probably start waking up on her own at this time. I find it takes my son, who is 5, about a hour to wake up, eat breakfast, brush his teeth and hair, get dressed and actually be in the car. You will probably want to plan on leaving the house at 7:20 so that you won't be rushed and if you daughter has to do something, like run back into the house to use the bathroom at the last minute, she won't miss the bus. Best of luck!"
"My only question is my daughter has to get on the bus at 7:30. She currently flexuates between what time she wakes up. Her normal bed time is 7:30pm and she wakes up from 6:30 to 7am. I'm planning on moving her bedtime to get her up on time. I don't want her to be woken up so she's not starting off bad. She's getting enough sleep. What do other parents or doctors suggest as a bedtime for a 5 1/2 yr old girl starting kindergarten. thanks"