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Preparing your kindergartner for the first day of school

Page 3 of 3

By Marian Wilde

Set priorities and schedules

To make the best use of your time and keep life from being harried, think about priorities for family members and then schedule them into the week.

For children

  • Before school begins, discuss what extracurricular activities your child will participate in. If your child needs a little extra encouragement to take piano lessons or to take swimming lessons, now is the time to go over the benefits of these activities. If, however, your child needs to have limits set, have her pick her favorite activities and forego the rest. Be realistic and don't fall victim to over-programming.
  • Make sure to leave enough time to do homework and for family time.

For parents

Determine how much time you can give to the school each month as a volunteer and an involved parent: in the classroom, on field trips, for fundraising events, and on school-wide committees.

For the family

Start a family calendar in a common area where each family member can have their activities written down.

Arrange for transportation

Everyone will feel better if transportation to and from school is addressed well before the start of the school year, particularly if your child is taking the bus.

Taking the bus

  • Remember to get the new bus schedule!
  • If your child will be taking a bus for the first time, discuss the bus route and bus safety rules with her.


  • If you will be driving your child, have a backup arrangement with another parent in case you are delayed for some reason.
  • Confirm carpool arrangements in advance and make sure your child knows who will be picking him up before and after school.
  • Become familiar with your school's traffic safety rules, as well as drop-off and pick-up procedures.

Confirm your after-school care arrangements

Most after-school care arrangements must be made months ahead, frequently in the winter or spring before your child starts school. As the school year approaches, however, it's a good idea to confirm your plans.

  • Make sure your child knows where he is going after school.
  • Double-check on your care plans and communicate with the provider a few days before school starts.


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"