Dress for Success
Here's your guide for dressing your kindergartner, head to toe.
Hat: Most dress codes do not allow hats in the classroom, so check rules before school begins. If your soon-to-be kindergartner has a favorite baseball cap or other hat that rarely leaves his head, talk it over with him so he knows not wear it in the classroom. A good compromise is wearing it to and from school, and keeping it tucked in his backpack during school hours.
Shirt: Make sure it's comfortable. Kindergartners do everything from playing outside on a playground, creating arts and crafts, and sitting still for story time, so shirts should be soft, not itchy, and have plenty of give for running about. Pullovers, rather than button downs, are easier to get on and off in the morning. But if your child has mastered buttons, it shouldn't be a problem.
Sweater/Hoodie: Send a top layer, like a cardigan or a zip-up sweatshirt, on days that might be chilly. Just remember to put your child's name on the tag in case it gets misplaced. In fact, label ALL articles of clothing with indelible ink. Write the full name, not just initials or first name and last initial (or use your last name only if you expect to hand the clothing down to a younger child).
Jacket: In most kindergarten classrooms, there is a cubby or some other space for your child to store her jacket. Choose a coat he can easily put on and take off himself. Show your child how to maneuver the zipper or buttons and let him try it a few times on his own.
Pants: Once again, make sure your child can move around. Practice with zippers, buttons, and snaps before school begins. What is your child most comfortable with? Some kids are better at undoing buttons, while others are at ease with zippers or snaps. Or try elastic waists. They're a good bet for comfort and make trips to the restroom easy.
Skirt/Dress: Skirts and dresses shouldn't be too short or too fancy. If your child wears tights, be sure she can roll them back up after she uses the bathroom.
Shoes: Double-tie laces at home before your child heads off to school, or stick to Velcro. It helps teachers out — tremendously — when all shoes remain securely on feet for the whole day!
A word on favorite outfits: your child may be attached to certain pieces of clothing. Perhaps he loves a sports team so much that he wants to wear his favorite player's jersey all the time. Maybe there's a pink skirt that she feels especially pretty in. Wearing something special can be a comfort to a child separated from home for the first time. Just as long as these "favorites" get sufficient time in the washing machine and are dress code appropriate, there's no reason why your child can't wear them over and over. Eventually, the article of clothing, as well as the attachment, will be outgrown.
However, you may have to step in and regulate when your child wants to wear inappropriate clothing. To ensure that there's a smaller chance of your kindergartner bounding down the stairs in pajama pants, a Halloween costume in January, or snow boots when it's 75 degrees and sunny, go over dress code rules. Explain that these silly outfits are not for school — but he can wear them on the weekend if he wants.
Finally, keep getting dressed simple for your child. Put outfits together in the closet so she can reach for the hanger and have a shirt and bottoms in one place. This trick saves time, but if your child wants to show her own fashion flair, buy lots of mix-and-match pieces so she can choose for herself.