When it comes to entering kindergarten, some kids are excited, some are nervous, and some (read: my daughter) are already planning their first-day-of-school outfit. And while we parents can be an important emotional resource for our children during this transition period, our children's peers may be even more helpful. Seriously, what do we even remember about kindergarten, right? So I asked some first graders to give advice about kindergarten, if only to see what wisdom we can pass on to our kids.
Kindergarten is a big deal for parents and kids alike. The kids are the ones actually going through it, sure, but sending your itty-bitty baby to school is a mood. It's pretty typical to feel some very big feels about this whole scenario, and as a result you might not be in, shall we say, the best emotional position to give your kid good advice on the whole "going to school for an extended period of time without a parent present" thing.
In my opinion, obtaining a first grader's perspective on kindergarten is clutch. After all, kindergarten wasn't too far back for them, so they have the perspective of time with the added bonus of a little more emotional maturity than their pre-K and soon-to-be kindergarten peers. (Plus listening to 6- and 7-year-old kids try to give serious, meaningful advice is hysterical.)
"I don't really have any advice. I can't really remember what it was like to start kindergarten. 'Be strong' and 'be brave' would work, right?"
"Keep your hands to yourself. When I was a little kid I used to hit, but when you get to school, you're a big kid, and you have to use your words. You definitely can't bite."
"Work hard, do what the teacher says, and never leave the class if you're on a field trip."
"You have to practice reading every night. ... It's OK if you don't know a word. Sometimes you can guess if you look at the pictures! That's what I did!"
"Be nice to all your friends, and if someone is alone at recess go and talk to them, and maybe then you can be their friend and they'll be your friend, and your mom can call their mom, and you can have a play date."
"When you're on the carpet you have to sit criss-cross applesauce ... so everyone can fit and you don't kick anyone on accident."
"If your special is P.E. you have to wear sneakers and pants. If you have fancy shoes and a dress or skirt you can wear them when it's art or music or library, but you need clothes that help you move around and stay safe when it's P.E."
"If you don't get the job you want one week, like if you want to be line leader or something, it's OK. You'll get to do it another week. Everyone gets to take turns."
"Be a bucket filler not a bucket dipper."
Writer's note: This is a thing a lot of schools promote. Basically, it's a way of encouraging kids to be kind to one another. The first time my kid came home and very gravely said someone in his class was "being a bucket dipper" I was very confused.
"Don't chit-chat too much when you're supposed to be doing your work."
"If you get hurt go to the nurse's office and she'll give you a Band-Aid and an ice pack."
"You have to raise your hand. When you just shout out things it's very frustrating and no one can hear anything."
"You can bring your lunch or you can buy lunch in the cafeteria. Friday is pizza day and I think every kindergartener should try pizza day, because I didn't like all the lunches but I love pizza day and probably they will, too."