PARENTS

Survival Items To Help Get You Through The Rest Of The Kindergarten Year

Expert tips included.

09/14/2017 21:39 EDT | Updated 09/14/2017 21:39 EDT
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So, you made it through the couple of weeks of school, only 27 or so more to go!

Parenting is a tough gig, and a significant change in routine, like starting school, can bring all kinds of stress. Our best advice? Try not to worry, you've got this, and just in case, we've put together our list of kindergarten survival supplies to help make this school year a success.

Sharpies

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Sure, those cute lil' labels are nice (our hint: snag a coupon from Costco for great savings), but as far as we're concerned, a cheap 'n cheerful Sharpie will also do the trick. From lunch boxes, to water bottles, sneakers, and winter gear, Sharpies pretty much let you scrawl your kid's initials on anything, and prevent an unwanted cubby showdown when two kinders lunge for the same superhero-themed Thermos.

Indoor shoes

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Your school will request them, and trust us you'll want to send them, since anything your LO wears OUTSIDE is going to come home looking like he or she just spent the day sweeping out chimneys. To keep one pair of shoes looking somewhat less tattered (and help keep the kindergarten germs at bay), pack a second pair of runners and remind your little guy or gal DAILY to put them on indoors. Added tip: Velcro is going to be your NBF for the next two years, or at least until those little fingers learn to navigate laces.

Extra everything

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A bag of extra clothes is also top of our list for kinder essentials, unless you particularly want your kid kitted out in various items from the lost and found. When you're four to five years old, accidents have a way of finding you, and require a change in pants/socks/undergarments on the regular.

A lunch they'll eat

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We know, we know, you want to pack a healthy Pinterest-worthy lunch right? But unless your LO is a devoted veggie lover, there's a good chance you're going to be opening containers of half decomposed produce at the end of the day. Our suggestion? Serve healthy fruit + veg at breakfast and dinner, where you can monitor the intake, and fill their lunch boxes with foods there's a good chance they'll actually eat.

Gym clothes on gym days

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Sounds pretty simple right? You'd be surprised how many times we messed up the schedule and sent our kids to school in jeans instead of sweats, or dark-soled shoes. Lay the clothes out the night before, cross-referenced with the activity calendar, and no one will be coming home complaining of being inappropriately dressed for hula hooping or dodgeball.

Calendars again

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Whether it's picture day or pajama day, we wouldn't recommend the experience of forgetting to prep your kid appropriately, and then having to slink off to work while they look around at their thematically attired classmates with confusion. Stick the calendar on the fridge and give it a glance once the kids are in bed; pack costumes/hairbrushes/PJs as needed.

Mittens

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We're giving mittens their own category since they're such a pain in the butt to put on and not lose. Woolen ones are fine for fall, but once the mercury drops, it's time to bust out the waterproof-lined mitts. Strings, clips, or anything that attaches them to something else are a plus, but in our experience, it pays to have a couple extra pairs in your stockpile, when the initial pair inevitably gets forgotten.

Tuques

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To prevent those cherubic lil' cheeks from getting overly rosy in sub zero temps, we recommend a tuque with ear flaps to keep them warm. Just like mitts, the woolen variety are fine for fall, but winter requires the big guns, lined and weather-proof for outdoor playtime, or that daily trudge to school.

Snow pants

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While many parents understandably chose to size up in jackets to try to squeeze in an extra season of wear, we learned the hard way that snow pants need to be a solid fit. Extra length in the legs means extra fabric to step on, trip over, and in our case rip, requiring the nearly impossible mid-season purchase of snow pants. When snow pants come into the stores, buy them, because they will sell out.

Snacks

We recently discovered that just like our grownup pals, kindergarteners get HANGRY, and no one wants to be in the middle of that teeny s&%t storm when it hits. We've been packin' snacks like it's nobody's business, and whether it's a banana, granola bar, or on occasion a cookie, we'll have them at the ready when we walk in for pick-up. It's hungry work learning through play, and our picky eaters in particular often seem famished at the end of the day. Check out some of these suggestions for easy, store-bought fixes.
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