Kindergarten is a major milestone in every child’s life. Some parents are overjoyed by this new milestone, while others, like myself, will have their tissues handy. And while I look at my little girl and think, “How did we get here?”, I am also acutely aware that she won’t stay little forever. She is (as they always do) growing up. So when I look at my beautiful, kind, and compassionate daughter, I know what I want for her. I want for her to become a kind and productive member of society.
My husband and I feel kindergarten is a great stepping stone into giving our daughter a little more responsibility at home. We used this summer as our opportunity to discuss with her what it means to start going to the “big school.” As a big kid, she will have the opportunity to learn new skills. We are raising our children to become adults, after all.
1. Teach your child to cook something simple.
Having your children cook and bake with you from a young age can instill kitchen confidence. My girls have always helped my husband and I with recipes from day one, but this time my daughter took the lead. She was thrilled when I told her she would have the opportunity to cook her own scrambled eggs (with my supervision) for breakfast. She knows every step, including clean up. My daughter loves to be the lead chef, donning her apron and hat.
2. Update the chore chart.
We feel that entering kindergarten is the perfect opportunity to update the chore chart, giving slightly more responsibility to reflect the “big kid” status. For us, that meant doing the laundry. My oldest does a load of towels (with my supervision) and my toddler enjoys helping, too. Towels are a great place to start with laundry, because it’s not a big deal if they get messed up. Plus, its a life skill they will always need.
3. Create a solid morning routine.
A solid morning routine sets the tone for your whole day. It sounds so simple, but it’s something I struggle with. So this summer, we tested out a few different routines until we found one that fit. She has a simple 4-step routine: potty, brush teeth, make your bed, and get dressed. She has a small magnetic board in her bedroom, so when she completes each task she move the magnets to “done.” We purchased ours from the dollar section in Target.
4. Purchase an alarm clock.
Purchase a simple battery-operated alarm clock (in case the power goes out). I usually have my alarm set for about 5-10 minutes before hers. We talked about how going to the “big school” means she will be responsible for getting up and turning off her alarm clock and starting her morning routine, while I prepare breakfast. This may seem like a big leap for such a small child, but it’s easier to start practicing good habits now, than when they are teenagers.
5. Attend the free summer lunch program.
The preschool our daughter attended did not have a school cafeteria, so we always sent a packed lunch. The free lunch program was a great way for her to learn lunchroom etiquette: taking the first tray in front of you (not choosing a color), getting your own utensils, carrying a tray of food, opening a milk carton (this was tricky at first), sitting on your bottom, and cleaning up.
I would love to hear your must-do’s to start Kindergarten off right! Remember, we are all in this together!