Dear Mom Sending Your First Child to Kindergarten:
I am writing to you as a mom who was in your shoes not so long ago. I want to somehow ease your anxiety about this milestone that you are about reach. I want to save you a few sleepless nights by sharing some of my positive experiences with you.
Even those of us that are rushing off to enjoy all of our new free time or finding ways to spend all the money we are saving now that we are free of daycare expenses. It is hard letting our babies go. At the same time, it is also exciting watching them grow and learn.
The first day of Kindergarten does not sneak up on you. I dreaded it long before it arrived, yet right now you are sitting there wondering…
How did this happen so quickly? It seems like just yesterday I was looking at this blurry little image during my first ultrasound.
So much to do. Supply lists, clothing, backpacks, lunch boxes, health forms, signing up for extended day, meet the teacher. Add to that all of the emotion of letting your kids venture into kindergarten, yikes!
I definitely had a long list of fears that I should not have worried about so much! Here are a few:
Fear #1: Teachers Are Too Busy Testing
I was so worried that my children would be leaving their loving nurturing preschool and entering this new school with its long list of skills they needed to achieve to be promoted. I had heard so much about teachers having to push so much paperwork and prep students for a standardized test that it left little time to nurture the students.
I think about my timid boy starting kindergarten, and I recall the note of thanks I sent to his teacher after spending a year with her. I did not praise her for teaching him to read or to count to 100, but instead for building confidence in him that could almost be mistaken for arrogance. One of my son’s biggest successes of the year was overcoming his fear of fire drills. When the fire alarms went off, my little guy would cover his ears and cry. His teacher would talk calmly to him and tell him, “We are not going to panic. Instead, we are going to use our heads.” By the end of the year, he was able to calmly exit the building during fire drills with hands by his side. I continue each year to see teachers that build relationships like this with children to help them grow on all levels!
Fear #2: Scary 5th Graders
When my kids were younger, I toured a school to check out their pre-K, and sweet as they were, there were older middle school children on the same campus. I couldn’t handle it. All I could imagine was the bad influence older children would have on my sweet little babies. I made the decision not to attend that school for VPK but still had my doubts about Kindergarten when my children would be around 5th graders that were five years older. What if my kid learned bad words or wanted to dress like a 5th grader instead of the sweet little kindergartener that she was?
On the first day of school, something amazing happened. I was walking my children in, and there was a 5th-grade patrol that welcomed my twins. He was so encouraging and sweet–it melted my heart. And during the first few weeks, I witnessed other patrols comforting and encouraging other kindergarteners. And just this year, my daughter had a 5th-grade reading buddy who very sweetly gave her an encouraging note at the end of the year with a list of books she thought my daughter might like to read. 🙂
Fear #3: Less Time with My Kids
As a stay-at-home mom, I was really nervous about spending less time with my kids. I knew our trips to the Zoo or St. Augustine would be less frequent. And now they would be spending more time with their teachers instead of with me, but it was time, time for them to take the roots I had planted and grow. And boy, did they grow! I think independence, helped them to learn more about themselves. I also think they were ready for someone besides me to teach and nurture them and to expect great things from them!
I was worried about a million other things! And none of it seemed to matter. Throughout their first five years, both of my kids hated loud noises and loud places. I was so afraid of the lunchroom for them, but they had no issues and loved sitting in the lunchroom and eating with their classmates.
A year before Kindergarten, my kids were napping from 1-3, how would they ever survive a full day of school? Would they be hungry or thirsty with lunch so early or so late? Would they easily make friends at their new school? My teachers were great and worked hard to help them acclimate to the new routine and helped them adjust socially.
When my Kindergartener came home and instead of calling me Mom, called me by his teacher’s name, I knew everything was OK!!!
As you get your precious baby ready for her first day of school, remember to take a breath and just know that your child will do better than you think!
Wishing you a wonderful school year,
Mom Sending Her First Child to Third Grade
PS Don’t forget to print your First Day of School sign!