25 Things I Wish I Knew Before the First Day of Kindergarten

Friendly FYI: this site uses affiliate links. If you buy something, we might earn a small commission. Without your support, this site wouldn't be possible. Thank you! For more information, visit our Disclaimer Page.

The First Day of Kindergarten

The first day of kindergarten is undoubtedly one of the most momentous milestones for kids and parents alike! As an anxious yet eager parent, I vividly remember sending my first child off to start her academic journey. While transitions always bring some uncertainty, maintaining an optimistic perspective helped us embrace this new chapter.

In hindsight, I gained so many valuable insights from our kindergarten experience that I wish I had known sooner. The first day of school sets the tone for the year ahead. Although every student and classroom is unique, I hope these tips will help fellow parents prepare their little learners for a smooth and smiling first day of kindergarten!

Ready Kindergarten Dinosaur School T Shirt
Kindergarten Back School Leopard T Shirt
Kindergarten First Day School Toddlers

1. Focus on Life Skills over ABCs

Of course we all want our kids to start their first day of kindergarten familiar with early academics. But time spent developing social skills like sharing, following directions, and communicating needs pays off hugely too. Know that teachers will meet your child where they are academically.

2. Touring the School Eases Safety Concerns

A smiling kindergartener, wearing a backpack on his first day of kindergarten

It’s only natural for us parents to worry about safety when dropping our babies off at school! Touring my son’s kindergarten classroom ahead of time helped put my mind at ease. It allowed me to meet his teacher and familiarize myself with school procedures. This gave me reassurance that he would be in good hands.

3. Communication is Key with Teachers

Open, ongoing communication with your child’s teacher is essential for supporting their success, especially when everything is so new! I made it a priority to introduce myself right away and exchange contact information. This allowed us to closely collaborate on my son’s transition and progress.

4. Embrace the Powerful Growth in Independence

While it’s bittersweet to watch them need us a little less, what an amazing milestone it is seeing our kindergarteners blossom in independence and confidence at school! They make us so proud developing classroom skills, forging new friendships, and immersing themselves in learning.

5. Learning Happens Everywhere, Not Just Class

Between imaginative play, reading signs in public, and nature walks, you’ll be amazed by how much learning infiltrates life when you embrace everyday teachable moments. Kindergarten concepts suddenly permeate dinner conversations, bedtime stories, and more!

Crazy Forts Purple 69 pieces
Little Accessories Pretend Makeup Toddlers

6. Tears Will Happen…And That’s Okay!

A few tears now and then are perfectly normal during this major transition. The key is not to overreact. With empathy and patience, teachers are pros at reassuring nervous kids and helping them settle in. If emotions run high, chat with the teacher privately to strategize support.

7. Embrace the Adventure of the School Bus!

Kindergarten student climbs aboard his school bus.

In our house, merely mentioning the school bus sparked endless curiosity and excitement as the first day approached! We embraced this enthusiasm by reading bus books, taking practice rides, and going on neighborhood “bus spotting” adventures. A little extra TLC and comfort items eased the way.

8. Naptime May Fade, But Rest Remains Essential

The loss of naps can be an adjustment for little ones. Notice when extra quiet time is needed after busy school days. Simplify evening schedules with calming routines, earlier bedtimes, and cozy reading time. Don’t forget weekend downtime too for recharging!

9. Every Child Learns at Their Own Pace

It’s tempting to compare our kid’s progress with others. But every student follows their own learning curve. Try to focus on personal growth versus peers. Teachers also help nurture children at their current developmental level. Progress over perfection!

10. New Food Adventures Await in the Cafeteria

Don’t be surprised if your child’s appetite and lunchtime habits shift as they’re exposed to new foods and greater independence in the cafeteria. Go over lunchroom basics at home, and keep go-to snacks handy to refuel after school if needed.

Insulated Cooler School Thermal Astronaut
MISS BIG Microwave Dishwasher Containers
Lunchbox with a donut design pattern

11. Embrace Opportunities to Stay Involved

When parents and teachers partner up, students thrive! Look for ways big and small to engage with your school, whether it’s attending events, volunteering occasionally in the classroom, or doing projects at home. Being a hands-on partner demonstrates your dedication to their education.

12. You’ll Become Immersed in Their Classroom Community

Beyond dropping off and pickup, expect to become fully invested in the classroom culture, curriculum, and community. It takes a village, so be ready to fully immerse yourself in this new little world! Whether in person or virtually, find opportunities to participate.

13. Friendship Frustrations Are Part of the Journey

3 kindergarten friends are playing with cars

Ah friendship drama, it starts so young! Social hiccups are inevitable but present great teachable moments for developing empathy and problem solving. With teacher guidance and our support at home, kids build relationship skills that will serve them a lifetime.

14. Keep an Eye on the School Calendar

Attending school-wide events like “Meet the Teacher” night helps demystify the kindergarten experience before the first day. They also allow children to see their classroom, meet their teacher, and forge friendships early on. Mark your calendars for these fun community activities!

Sandra Boyntons Calendar 17 Month 2023 2024

15. Unstructured Playtime is Essential Too

Between the stimulating classroom time and excitement of extracurricular activities, be sure to leave space for free play at home. Play boosts so many developmental skills they’ll need, like creativity, motor skills, and decision making. Downtime gives their growing minds a breather.

16. Prepare for the New Digital Landscape

Today’s kindergarten curriculum is full of technology, from classroom tablets to coding lessons! While exciting, this new skill set can be challenging. Ease into it with the teacher’s help, starting from your child’s comfort level. New literacies open so many doors!

17. Illness Comes with the Territory

Mom feels her sick son's forehead to check for a fever

Believe me, I know it can feel endless! But the parade of minor bugs is unavoidable with germ-filled classrooms. Stock up on hand sanitizer, practice good hygiene, and be ready to roll with the punches. Your school nurse becomes your new BFF. This too shall pass!

18. Learn to Spot Signs of Stress

Major changes impact everyone. Help your child manage the emotions, stimulation, schedule changes and mental fatigue common at the start of school. Monitor for acting out, mood changes, or regression. Proactively chat about their experiences and allow for adjustments.

19. Don’t Overschedule Extracurriculars (Yet!)

In our excitement about kindergarten, it’s tempting to overload our kids with enrichment activities right away. But they need playtime and family time too! Go light on the classes initially to see what their limits are. School alone is their main job now.

20. Embrace the Learning Curve – Yours and Theirs!

I had to adjust my parenting approaches, household routine, and own mindset to this new chapter. Remember you’re learning right alongside your child! It’s a team effort, so give yourself grace on the curveballs. Each year of parenting reveals more about ourselves too.

21. Kindergarten Lasts Only One Year

Kindergarten students doing crafts

When facing new challenges, I remind myself that situations are temporary. The transition may bring growing pains but won’t last forever. Each school year brings fresh starts and milestones to celebrate. Enjoy little moments along the way!

22. Lean On Your Parent Network

No one understands the kindergarten transition quite like fellow parents walking the same path! Bond with classroom parents and swap stories. Share excitement and empathize over hurdles. You’re all in this together, so lean on one another.

23. Celebrate Every Little Victory

When my son proudly mastered using scissors or recognizing a daycare friend by name, we made a BIG deal out of it! Find ways to spotlight accomplishments from counting to five to making a new buddy. Recognition motivates their learning and self-esteem.

24. Laugh Together Along the Way

Mom laughing with her kids

Humor and playfulness help make challenges lighter. Get silly renaming classroom objects or telling knock-knock jokes about their teacher. Giggles relieve tension and strengthen your bond as you navigate this journey together.

25. This is Only the Beginning!

Kindergarten kicks off a lifelong journey of learning and growth that will astound you. Transitions may come with trepidation, but focusing on the joys and possibilities allows you to embrace each year. What an honor it is guiding our little learners as they spread their wings!


The key is flexibility, communication, and of course a healthy sense of humor! I hope these lessons learned will help you cherish each laugh, milestone, and heartwarming moment along the way. Though the days are long, the years are short.

Enjoy every step with your one-of-a-kind kiddo! Kindergarten kicks off a lifelong journey of learning and growth that will astound you. Transitions may come with trepidation, but focusing on the joys and possibilities allows you to embrace each year. What an honor it is guiding our little learners as they spread their wings!

One of the more concerning issues that unfortunately can arise in kindergarten is bullying. As hard as it is to imagine 5-year-olds participating in bullying, the behaviors can begin emerging at young ages. That’s why it’s so important for parents to keep an eye out for potential signs of bullying, like unexplained injuries, lost or damaged belongings, or a sudden reluctance to go to school.

If you have any concerns that your child is being bullied, be sure to talk with them calmly and validate their feelings. Also reach out to the teacher right away so steps can be taken to address the issue. This article has some excellent tips on recognizing bullying and empowering your child: https://thecornydad.com/signs-of-bullying-and-ways-to-support-your-child/ With awareness and collaboration, we can help curb bullying and make the kindergarten experience positive for all.

Hey there! I'm Allen, but you can call me "The Corny Dad" from Canada. I have a wife and four kiddos. Yep, one's full grown, but they'll always be my babies. When I'm not doing something with my family or playing video games, I'm here, jotting down my bits of wisdom on this blog. From the fun stuff to the parenting chaos, I cover it all. Believe me, with the right attitude, parenting's a smoother ride and I'm here to help.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles