At this time two years ago, I was getting ready to send my first born BABY off to Kindergarten. Many a sleepless night was spent fretting about how we would survive getting up early every day, how he would carry his own tray at lunch, whether he would get lost at school, and if I was going to be THAT parent on the first day of school bawling my eyes out.
Actually, I only cried a little that year, and Kindergarten turned out to be not as scary as I thought. Last year I sent my second child off to Kindergarten and I wasn’t nearly as nervous.
Here are a few tips and words of encouragement from other moms who’ve sent their babies off to Kindergarten–and survived!
Aliona: “Kindergarten is nothing to stress about. It is a lot of learning though play. They do not even feel the real world yet, even though for me seemed “the end of the world: a lost boy in the big hallways of the school, and nobody to give them a hug or wipe his tears”. I was so wrong!”
Brigid: “Try not to let your feelings get in their way. When my daughter was going I to kindergarten she begged and pleaded to ride the bus. I thought she would be happier (or really, I would be happier) if I drove her. I ended up relenting and she has LOVED riding the bus for two years now. And, when she was in first grade, her brother’s schedule changed so driving her wasn’t even an option.
Robyn: “In Kindergarten children are given more independence and responsibility than parents ever give at home. It is very hard to send your child into a situation of which you have no control. You may even think your child cannot succeed with all of the demands of school. The good news is that they adapt very quickly and they actually can do the things that fill your head with doubts. Think of kindergarten as training for future years of school. They learn rules, study skills and personal accountability. And don’t worry it’s a gradual process. They don’t need to walk into kindergarten on the first day already grasping those concepts. Breathe, they will be great!”
Barbara: “Get to know the other parents of your child’s classmates. You won’t feel so lost during the year if you have someone to compare notes with. This can be done at Meet the Teacher Night, getting involved with PTA, or just trying to meet at a park after school.”
Sarah: “Kindergarten involves a LOT of paperwork! Paperwork for you to fill out, plus papers that your child will bring home to keep. Be organized! Have a system for filling out and returning papers to school. (I do them immediately and put them right back in the folder, in the backpack, for school the next day.) You don’t want to be THAT Mom who never returns anything on time!
Also, don’t be too sentimental. You are not realistically going to be able to save every.single.little.thing that Johnny makes in Kindergarten. I know a toilet paper roll decorated as a butterfly is cute, but seriously? Toss it. Only save the unique and hilarious items. And trust me, there will still be plenty.”
Ashley: “Establish a good relationship with your child’s teacher. My oldest son’s Kindergarten teacher was great about returning my emails while my youngest son’s Kindergarten teacher was easier to get ahold of on the phone. Find the way that works best!”
Marta: “I know a lot of parents are really stressed about Kindergarten being full day. My three oldest children survived full day Kindergarten in Nebraska and I was shocked when we moved here and my youngest only went for part of the day! The full day of Kindergarten really is totally fine.”
Adrienne: “My advice to any parent who has a child just starting Kindergarten is get involved. At the beginning of the school year, there are many opportunities presented to you to get involved as a parent, no matter how much or how little time you can invest. For example, a parent can get involved in the school’s hospitality committee, which requires little to no time volunteering at the school (while the parent is working full-time or at home with other little ones) yet allows you to become a part of the school and community. Room Moms and Classroom Volunteers are always welcomed for those who have a little more time they can invest, and it is a great way to support your school and your child. Nothing made my child’s day more than when my husband and I took the time out of our busy schedules to come in before work and read a story to the class, or even helped open car doors at the end of the day.”
Emily: “It’s ok if there are tears on the first day. (from you kid, or from yourself). And also, embrace the routine, you might grow to love it.”
What advice do you have for moms sending their child off to Kindergarten for the first time?
(photo credit: Tim Pierce via Flickr)