It’s common knowledge that we value the shit out of our community and ask for their input on a regular basis… so why not have The Veteran Rebels weigh in on all the essentials you need to buy / shit you need to know before sending your precious spawn off to school for the first time?!
Spoiler Alert: There will be tears, and most of them will be yours.
We know you’ll be bombarded with BTS ads, BTS morning show segments, and aisles upon aisles of BTS products that you “need”. If you get sucked into the hole fast enough, you will become just as overwhelmed as the day you filled out your baby registry (ain’t nobody got time for that). As self-proclaimed Queens of Lists, we took the time to break all the Back-To-School mayhem down in an easy-to-follow guide so you can roll in like the badass prepared-AF mom that you imagine yourself to be.
So without further ado, everything you need to know before the first day of school arrives for us newbies (aka kindergarten parents) along with some personal commentary because… I couldn’t help myself.
– Full change of clothes in a secure bag (large ziplocks or travel laundry bags will work)
Our picks: Don’t bother with Nike Lab for this shopping trip as clothing will inevitably get lost, ruined and forever forgotten. Shop Zara, HM, Joe Fresh, and local kids consignment shops like Tokki for cool basics on a dime.
– Also, The Dollar Store wins for things you will have to purchase about a dozen times in the winter (mittens, toques, scarves).
– Indoor and outdoor shoes (in case you thought this wasn’t going to cost you much) with features such as Velcro and Slip On. Do not get into the lace game this early.
Rebel picks: Converse, Nike, Natives
– Backpack (larger than preschool/toddler size so all the shit above and below can actually fit)
Rebel Picks: Herschel, Winners/Marshalls, The ugly Spider Man one from Walmart (which they will love the most – obvi)
– Lunch box or bag with containers that are easy to open (Eureka, a litterless lunch!)
Rebel picks: Yumbox for lunch on the reg, Lunchbots for hot food
– Two water bottles (one will get left behind before the school year is over FOR SHIZ)
Hot Tip: Role play lunch time by practicing opening (and closing) containers and eating with your kiddo so they don’t start their first week of school in a whirlwind of anxiety (or bring home half-eaten food that is now half-shaken in the backpack).
– Don’t expect to get lids or cutlery back. Buy that shit in bulk.
– Buy into the hot meal lunches (ie Pizza Day). It’s not only easier on you, but your kid won’t feel left out. #doublebless
– Labels (for literally EVERYTHING you will have to label with your kids name because they are miniature drunks with no concept of caring for their belongings).
Rebel picks: Mabels Labels
– Apparently, they don’t need any school supplies just yet (ie: you can skip the crayon and paper aisle, regardless of how much enjoyment you get out of curated pens) as everything will be provided for them in class.
– One thing that has always stuck with me is a tidbit a friend passed along. Choose a secret password (one that’s completely absurd of course), so if any stranger approaches your child after school citing that they are picking them up for Mommy and Daddy, they’ll need to know it. (No one, literally no one, will guess a classic cocktail or 90’s Hip Superstar – choose wisely).
– Explain to your babe that anything they are afraid of or feel uneasy about, they need to tell their teacher.
– If you’re already an emotional mess (read: you watch This Is Us religiously) then be prepared to cry. It may not happen immediately, but if you find yourself sobbing on the porch of your home after the school bus drives away, try to remind yourself of all the awesome independence your child (AND YOU!) gets to now experience. And don’t worry, they still need you.
– Use the month of August to practice all the things they still need help with. Ie: putting on a change of clothes and wiping their shitty butts. Also practice zipping zippers so your kid doesn’t freeze to death waiting to get their GD snowsuit put on properly.
– Don’t plan too many after school activities as kids will come home EXHAUSTED. Leave some room for down time and save martial arts for the weekend.
– Get involved with the class and teacher. Yes, you. Actually read upcoming events and join the party. Not only will it promote healthy learning, but you’ll get on the teachers good side and that’s always a plus.
– Don’t stress about your child being a baby genius before school starts. That’s what school is for! Get them excited about learning by reading at home, using learning apps and teaching through play (ie: the I SPY game while you’re stuck on the DVP) and leave the rest to the professionals.
– If volunteering opps arise, take ‘em. You’ll be able to see first hand how your child deals with classmates (and will put a face to the many names of their compadres).
– Mind your business and let schoolyard politics roll off your back. Apparently, mom cliques are a thing and you will want to avoid this drama at all costs.
– When you do find your kinda mom, stick with her. You will need an ally in this ballgame so keep your friends close. (Who else are you going to bitch to when you inevitably have to volunteer for something?!)
If you want to be even more of a keener before the first day of school (and are already a tax-paying member of society) we dug up this sweet Kindergarten prep from the Ontario Ministry of Education itself.
At the end of the day remember that MILLIONS of babes are starting school just like yours this year and in the grand scheme of things – EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE. Educators are not only saints, they are also (highly capable) professionals and this will be a wonderfully transformational year for your child. SO GO ON, GIRL! BE FREE! LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE*
* Until school pick up that is.
Get your copy of:
THE REBEL MAMA’S HANDBOOK FOR (COOL) MOMS