I can still remember the anxious and overwhelming feeling I had the day I sent my daughter off to school for the first time. Her first day of full-day Kindergarten also marked her first time taking the big yellow school bus.

I can remember bravely standing there with my sunglasses affixed upon my face as she boarded that bus. She was the smallest kid among the group of children in the age range of 4 to 14, albeit also the most excited. She had independence at her finger tips as she proudly spread her wings that day.

The moment that bus pulled away, I quickly had tears streaming down my face. There was no way the sunglasses were hiding how emotional I was as I watched that bus drive off into the distance. The mothers at the bus stop all swarmed me with all their hugs, support and reminisced with me about when their children started school. It was comforting and proof that motherhood really does take village.

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Now here we are… 2 years later and 11 days away from my 4 year old son starting his first year of Kindergarten. The only difference being this year is that my children are no longer bus students.

I have to say… I feel more comfortable with my son starting school. It’s not as overwhelming as when I sent my firstborn off to school. I feel ready for him to embark on this new journey in his life, and I know he is more than ready for the change and learning experience too. He’s excited to make new friends, grow his independence and learn.

Being that Cameron is only entering Kindergarten there isn’t much the teacher has asked that pack in terms of back-to-school supplies. The teacher has just asked that he comes prepared with a spare change of clothes, indoor shoes and a family picture (which will be hung in the classroom).

For all the parents out there who also have children starting Kindergarten this year, some things I wish I had known when my child started Kindergarten:

It’s OK to be your child’s advocate. In fact… I encourage it. You know what is best for your child after all. Don’t be afraid to speak up and address any and all concerns you might have. You want your child to go to school feel confident, comfortable, welcome and safe.

Stay in touch with the teacher and be involved. You don’t necessarily have to join the PTA, but you can volunteer to help out in your child’s classroom if your schedule permits. Most teachers may even keep in touch via email correspondence or a classroom blog. Staying in touch with the teacher is a great way to stay in the loop of the going’s on in the classroom.

Help your child learn the basics. Prior to the beginning of the school year, begin working at teaching your child how to recognize, spell and write their name. It’s also a good opportunity to work out learning the alphabet and basic numbers. Don’t sweat it if your child doesn’t pick it up right away. It takes time, and your child’s teacher will be there to help them throughout the school year as well.

Pack lunch wisely. Keep allergens in mind. Aim for litter-less, and ensure that your child can easily open all containers you are sending them with. The teacher certainly won’t have the time allotted to open 26 children’s yogurt cups. A healthy, well-balanced lunch will help keep your child energized and ready for the school day. Also never underestimate how much food to send. You’d be amazed at how much food my daughter eats during the day at school. It’s unreal!

Label your children’s gear. Label everything! Their backpack, indoor and outdoor shoes, jacket, their clothing (heaven knows my son will freak if he loses any of his new clothing from The Children’s Place), lunch bag, water bottle, thermos… EVERYTHING! I once was that child that wore a pair of shoes to school, only to find at the end of the day that they had vanished into thin air. Yep. My belongings hadn’t been labelled. It is so easy when a child is young for their items to be misplaced. Labeling can help prevent that. Key word being help

Understand your child will be exhausted. Making the transition from home to a full-day educational environment can be physically and emotionally exhausting. Your child will come home moody and tired. Some days they may even pass out on that 5 minute drive home from school. Some easy ways to work around this is by setting a consistent bedtime and wake-up routine.

It’s OK to be emotional… BUT… Also understand your child will be fine. Seriously. You may cry and that’s perfectly fine. You aren’t some raging hormonal lunatic. Mind you I may have tried to use that excuse on my daughter’s first day of Kindergarten. I was 15 weeks pregnant at the time. When your child starts school, it can be a bittersweet time. While you may feel so proud and excited to watch your child spread their wings and begin this new journey… It is normal to also feel emotional about it. Tears may flow. Both yours and your child. Just know that you are probably more emotionally overwhelmed then your child is. It may take them a little while to get in the groove of a new routine and the school life, but just know they will be fine… And you know what… You will be too.

The first year of Kindergarten is sure to be an exciting time, and I cannot wait for September 14th to arrive. I already look forward to hearing all about my little guy’s first big day of school!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Compensation has been provided. All opinions are those of my own.

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