Life + Motivation
10 Things to Know Before Your Child Starts Kindergarten
While your little one is excited about making new friends and wearing their Disney inspired backpack, first time moms are usually nervous wrecks who hold their breath until the final bell rings. How do I know? Because my only child started kindergarten three weeks ago and I panicked! The almost nervous melt down didn’t arise because I thought he’d be in danger or mistreated – even though that’ll cross your mind from time to time. It was realizing that the baby I once had is “a big boy” being pushed out into this great, big world (and that I’m getting old.)
Sending my son to a year round school this year has given me an early taste of what it feels like to be a kindergartener’s mom. We’re still learning as we go, but in the short weeks of this new journey, I’ve learned 10 things to know before your child starts kindergarten.
1. Schedules are vital from here on.
Gone are the laissez faire mornings of summer. Instead, your kid needs to have been bathed, fed, groomed, empowered, loved on, medicated (if necessary) and whatever else their little life requires before 7 AM to make the first bell on time. If this means pre-packing backpacks, lunch boxes and purses and ironing clothes the night before, then so be it. Finding a way to make mornings (before school) run smoothly is essential, so create a flexible plan that works for your family.
2. You need a bedtime, too.
If Super Woman ever got tired, now would probably be the time. This is the hardest one for me yet, simply because I’m a freelance writing, night owl creative by nature and always have been. The older I get, though, I realize that late nights and early mornings are for the birds…and I can’t keep up with the nest. In order for your schedules to work, a suitable bedtime for mommy is the greatest rule to be enforced because you, too, must also be alert and coherent.
3. Kids are lazy, but not lost.
When it comes to playing outside and collecting bugs, your little one finds all the time in the world. Tell him that he has to spend thirty minutes on homework and his “head hurts” automatically. You’ll find yourself explaining the importance of education in terms he’ll understand often. And when all else fails, bribery almost always gets the job done.
4. Making friends might be hard for your little one (and you.)
The Mama Bear in you wants everyone to love and accept your child the same way as you do. The reality is that some kids may not want to be friends with your little one. As painful as it is to watch, you have to employ that from-a-distance love in this scenario. Be there when they need guidance, but try your best not to make friends for them. You’d hate to be known as the overbearing mom. And yes, kids do talk about those kinds of things!
5. Children are disgusting (and precious).
A typical day in kindergarten usually starts with a wet hand sneeze being transferred to the group crayon box and onto all the other children’s hands, eyes and mouths. They’re precious as all get out, but children are (unconsciously) disgusting. While they’re in the first stages of learning how and why they should constantly sanitize, you might want to keep antibacterial soap, Wet Wipes and tissue in their backpacks. Thankfully, most classrooms store these items, anyway.
6. Prepare to be overwhelmed and exhausted during the first week of school.
Fighting for parking spaces, ensuring that your tot is settled in before running off to work, feeling guilty for leaving them, checking 100 things off their supply list, sending a nutritionally balanced lunch and assuring them that they’ll be OK are just a few things that happen during the first week of school. When the day is finally over, you both will be pooped and be looking forward to naptime. Thankfully, the hustle and bustle gets easier with time.
7. Everything counts NOW.
Most daycare centers don’t enforce tardiness and homework too tough. The World of Kindergarten is the complete opposite. Being on time or late, having excused absences and turning in completed homework all matter and will be counted for report cards.
8. Back-to-School Lists are ridiculous (and scary).
Kindergarten is in 3D, so if you’ve pictured buying an 18 count box of crayons and cornbread paper, you’re wrong. To be safe, I’d recommend putting aside forty five dollars to cover everything from pencils to backpacks to lunch for the first three days of week one. (And no, this will not cover clothing and undergarments.) You should also wear comfortable shoes when going school shopping because if your child goes to an all year school like mine, finding what they need a month early can be tiring.
9. Parent-friends are overrated.
I’m a firm believer in building tribes, as most moms are. However, this doesn’t mean that every parent you meet is tribe material. Be nice, have small talk, and nod, but don’t feel pressured to join undocumented moms clubs. Do so when you’re inspired, not when you’re forced.
10. You’re a great mom. Resiliency lives within you.
Everything that you’ve done up to this point is for the safety and livelihood of your kid. You’ve done good, mom, and you should be proud of yourself. You’ve been able to handle everything that’s been thrown your way so far, and that won’t stop now. Continue to believe in yourself, stay positive (because you both will need it) and be confident in your ability to Mom.
Got a little one that has just started school and have some tips that you’d like to share? Drop a comment below!
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