10 Ways to Prepare
Your Child for First Grade

You survived your child's first year of elementary school, and now it's time to get ready for first grade. If your child only went to kindergarten for a half day, then this will be the first year that he's gone all day. There's no need to worry, though. By following a few simple tips, your child will be ready to embark on this exciting new adventure and feel confident.


Work on Appropriate Skills

Before entering first grade, your child should know how to write her full name, birthday, address and phone number. Counting from 0 to 100 and zipping jackets, tying shoes and buttoning and snapping clothing are also helpful skills. Practice them at home to help things go smoothly in the classroom and help your child feel accomplished away from home.


Make Sure Your Child Sleeps Well

In order to be alert at school, children need to get ample sleep at night. For first graders, this is between 10 and 11 hours of sleep every day. If your child fights the early bedtime, outfit his bed with new bedding especially for big kids to help him look forward to it.


Create a School Day Routine

If your child is nervous about moving up to first grade from kindergarten, create a routine to help ease those anxieties. When your child knows what to expect, some of those fears fade. Start the morning routine before school starts and then stick with it after the school year begins. Make sure that backpacks, shoes and other essentials are in a set place so your child is not scrambling in the morning looking for them.


Eat a Nutritious Breakfast

Kids need energy to power their bodies and their brains. Prepare a nutritious meal every morning before seeing your first grader off. Make sure your child eats enough that she won't be hungry again before snack time.


Play Games That Introduce Your Child to Math

The school work in first grade is a bit more intensive than in kindergarten. Expectations for first graders are a bit higher. Encourage learning by playing educational games, especially ones that focus on addition, subtraction and skip counting by 2s, 5s and 10s.


Pack a Healthy Snack and Lunch

Kids in first grade often have the opportunity to eat a snack before lunch. Pack your child's snack in a container that he can open on his own to promote independence. Reusable containers are easy to open and produce less waste than plastic bags. Put a sweet note inside your child's lunch so he feels special


Set Up a Space to Do Homework

This will probably be the first year that your child has homework, so try to make it fun. Set up a special space in the house for your child to work on schoolwork. Get a desk specifically for your first grader and limit the activities she can perform there so she knows it's for homework.


Pick Out a New Backpack

It's the start of a new school year, so it's time for a new backpack. Get your child excited about going back to school by letting him pick out a new one. Be sure to label it or get it personalized from Pottery Barn Kids so that it doesn't end up in the lost and found.


Work on Attention Span

First grade days are much more structured than those in kindergarten, and your child will be required to devote his attention to projects and worksheets in class for longer periods of time. Get him acclimated to this by setting a timer for 20 minutes and doing one activity, such as drawing or staying in the same seat, until it dings. Build up to a full hour.


Help Your Child Keep Up with Daily Activities

Hang a corkboard and calendar on the wall where your child can see it. Mark important dates on the calendar so she can keep up with activities. Put important notes and notices on the bulletin board to help your child remember events, dates and activities.