Junior Kindergarten Prep – 5 Simple Steps to be JK ready!

child running home from school.

This is a first.

Another facet of my life is going to begin next week.  I am going to send my one and only child, my baby bear, my babacakes, to school. Junior Kindergarten is his first foray into a structured learning environment.  He knows not what he’s in for. Junior Kindergarten will have it’s unique challenges. He’s been taken care of by his grandmother, so it’s going to be very new to him. Having said that, I have literally been prepping for the first day of school for the last 6 months. We have really hammered it home that his whole life is going to change.  I read the following blog post by Eman, on her blog Yusufina, “Back to School Transition Tips for Children” and I think I am feeling a lot less stressed out. I think she really captured the main things that we all are nervous about in the first year of our kid’s academic life.

However, I still think there is a lot to get done before your child starts school.  Here is a simple step by step prep guide that will make it an easy experience for you and your little one. 

1.Get a proper backpack. If the bag is not big enough to hold a folder, a few library books, lunch and an extra change of clothes, it’s too small. I bought a Parkland Bayside backpack in the space dreams print. I got it with a discount so I didn’t end up spending $45.00 on it. Even so, I find that it’s still cheaper than other bags of similar or better quality. You can find it on the manufacturer’s website, Indigo and Well.ca. Other ones I loved are Roots brand found at Costco. And if you are looking for an inexpensive one that is basically a trendy bag, then I would get on over to Walmart and grab that Paw Patrol one the kids are dying over.  I do want to warn you that those bags will only last you the year. This is a great option if your kids always have changing interests.

Parkland Bayside Backpack

2. A sturdy lunch bag is essential.  Your kid is going to kindergarten, so be aware that they may not get the hang of closing all the containers and bottles you send them. So buy a lunch bag you can contain their food mess in.  Our school is litterless and does boomerang lunch which means all wrappers are discouraged, and will be sent back home, including any fruit peels. Therefore when looking for a lunch bag, I wanted something small, so I don’t make it too heavy for him to carry, and one that is washable.  I ended up buying the corresponding lunch bag to the backpack he has. A Parkland Rodeo lunch bag in the space dreams print.

Parkland Rodeo Lunch bag

3. A self contained lunchbox and a great reusable water bottle. I read about this a lot.  I realized this rule of thumb.  The least amount of containers to open, the faster the process is. I also think it’s easier for kids to eat if everything is bite sized. So I opted for a bento box.  A YumBox. They have multiple configurations so you can get the size that will yield to your child’s eating habits.  Little compartments help you send a variety of items but all in one place so they don’t waste time fumbling with the lids and opening up packaging.

Yumbox Panino

I also read a lot about water bottles. I know… do I even work? Anyway, I found the Funtainer straw-less bottles to be perfect. I don’t have to worry about a straw getting moldy or too many parts that I will have to take apart to clean.

I can’t wait to make lunches! I am also writing a lunch list right now so that I can create lunch options without actually ever asking “what am I going to pack for lunch today?” Let me know on IG or in the comments if you would find the Lunch Maker List helpful.

4. The appropriate outerwear is key.  Since I live in the great white north, the weather is unpredictable and often it feels like mother nature is on her period.  Fear not, buy the essentials:

  • Denim jacket: for summer days that have a bit of a cool breeze, perfect for early September.
  • Waterproof hooded windbreaker: basically a raincoat with insulation for those cold and rainy October days.
  • Splash pants: to go with your windbreaker, so that they can wear it over their indoor pants when they go out for recess.
  • Rain boots: self explanatory. 
  • Winter Gear: Jacket, snow pants, boots, mitts, hat, and scarf.  I know, some of you think it’s crazy that I’m listing this here now.  But, give me a chance to explain. These items are out of season, which means they will be cheaper to buy.  Also, given that we live in Canada, the weather is volatile and you don’t want to be momma to the one kid who doesn’t have mittens on the first freak snow day of the year! Buy early and forget about it.

5. Label all the things. Your kids are going to lose a lot of stuff.  You can help the situation by labeling everything that is not attached to your kid.  I would even say, label the kid. I’m kidding… not really…. I bought a set of school labels from Oliver’s Labels and I am going on a rampage.  LOL. I love how these labels stick to all the things and don’t get worn in the washer.  I mean I’ve heard sharpies and masking tape works well enough, but man, they let you make a customized imoji of your kid… and I’m a sucker for that kind of thing. 

Oliver’s Labels

I hope this easy to follow guide will help take the stress out of prepping.  There is no need to buy half the world. They won’t even need a pencil case for the time being.  Take it easy and spend the last few days doing these simple tasks and involving your child. I promise their excitement will do wonders for your stress levels.

Hope that helps!

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