6 Tips for a Boy Who’s Starting Kindergarten

Dear Paxton,

I know you aren’t the biggest fan of advice, but I have some for you. I went to Kindergarten once, so I know a thing or two about this.

I would say this to you in person, but you seem pre-occupied right now, growling like a gorilla in your room, so I’ll type instead. Here goes.


1. Listen to your teacher: The woman in front of your class cares about you. She might ask you to do things you don’t want to do, and she may even discipline you, but she cares. Otherwise, she would be making more money doing an easier job. Remember, she has what you want: knowledge. She can teach you want you need to know. And, believe me: your life will be much more pleasant if you do what she says.

2. Be kind to you classmates: I know you think having the first turn is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing, but it isn’t. Having friends is much more important. Pushing other kids will not make them want to play with you, and interrupting them five hundred times to tell them about your new game will not make them want to play it with you. Smile at your classmates. Think about their feelings, and let them go first occasionally. This will make Kindergarten much more fun.

3. Remember what you are capable of: Kindergarten will be hard at points. Really hard. You will be frustrated, and you’ll have to try harder than you think you can. But guess what? You are capable of great things. I know. I’m your mom. You can walk, talk, and jump. You can use a fork. You can climb to the top of the play structure. You can swim! Remember when you couldn’t do all of those things? I do. When you work hard, you can do hard things. Don’t give up. I believe in you.


4. Stand up for yourself: Be kind to everyone, but know that, unfortunately, people won’t always be kind to you. Kids may say mean words; kids may even hurt you. That’s not okay. Tell them that you don’t like those words and actions. And if you can’t work it out with that person, tell a grown-up. Don’t let people treat you disrespectfully: you’re too cool for that.

5. Learn to read: I mean it. Learn! I know, I’m biased about this, but reading is the most important academic skill you will ever learn. Work at it. Put those alphabet sounds together; stare at those books until the words make sense. You won’t believe how incredible it is to be able to read anything you see. Cherish it. Don’t lose your passion for stories. Being a reader will make you more compassionate and more intelligent. It will be hard to do, but you will never regret it, and, remember, you can do hard things.

6. Don’t forget about us: Paxton, I love you more than you will ever comprehend. You are growing more independent every day. You will continue to learn things I didn’t teach you, and grow in ways I haven’t thought of. You will spend time away from our house and make friends with people that we don’t know. You’re growing up. And I may or may not be crying as I’m typing about this. But don’t forget about us. Your home is a safe place. We encourage your growing independence and freedom, and we’re here, cheering for you, helping you. As you hear many other voices, remember our voices. We love you and believe in you more than anyone. My boy, as you grow, don’t forget us.

I won’t lie. This might be a hard year. Your feelings and your body might get hurt. You may feel frustrated, and you may feel discouraged. Life is hard like that.

But, I promise, great things will happen too. You will meet new friends, think new thoughts, and acquire new skills. You will come out of Kindergarten even more awesome than you are now. And we will be here the whole time, never doing your work for you but always encouraging you along the way.

Here’s to a great year.

Lots of love,



About Kellie Van Atta

Kellie Van Atta is a wife, a mom of two, and a teacher of English. She lives in Southern California and is passionately dedicated to teaching her kids to love others.

1 comment on “6 Tips for a Boy Who’s Starting Kindergarten

  1. Kelli- this note is beautiful. Having a 24 yr old, 20, 7 and 3 – I forget in the hustle to get settled and focus on “firsts”…
    This is a beautiful “first” and something he will treasure forever.
    Thank you for sharing and I look forward to more of these beautiful sentiments.
    Here is to mommyhood!

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