Hello, Kindergarten :: Three Tips for Parents

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Third Time’s the Charm

Third time’s the charm they say, but I say the third time was the hardest. I have three children, two daughters almost 7 and 14 and a 10-year-old son. Sending my first baby to kindergarten was tough – this mama was so not ready. Thankfully, she was more ready than me. An incredible teacher well-versed in managing the whole first child in big kid school drama combined with Bailey’s natural leadership skills and visible confidence meant that we kicked off kindergarten with a bang. Second kid was even better because I had already survived one, and my son is quite the charmer and social butterfly with the biggest, kindest heart. But this last one, wow! This last one was a toughie. Maybe it was because she represented the last time that I would send a child to kindergarten for the first time. Or perhaps because her sweet baby face and childlike voice were beginning to disappear. Or because she’s my super shy kid. Nevertheless, her time, just like her older sister’s and brother’s, had finally come.

It’s Your Big Day

I buried my tears because I didn’t want to make this very special day about me. I hid my angst within the recesses of my heart because I needed to be composed and confident for you. We had already prepared and practiced for this day. First day outfit – check. Snazzy sneakers – check. Unicorn backpack – check. Chalkboard sign announcing your first day of kindergarten – check. Teacher’s name memorized – check. Rehearsing your sassy stroll to the bus stop – check. So, I smiled and cheered you on. I squeezed you tightly and softly whispered words of encouragement in your ear, “You got this, baby girl.” Brother grabbed your hand to pull you onto to the school bus because you didn’t want to go, and I turned around hurried back to the house. I knew how nervous and excited you were because this mama was nervous and excited, too. But we got through that first part of your first day; and when I met you at the bus stop that afternoon, you had the biggest smile, and I knew that your first day was a smashing success. We high fived and sassy strolled together all the way home.

Survival Tips

I know your struggle, mama. Your baby’s big day is fast approaching. Summer is winding down. Soon you will be shopping for back-to-school clothes, shoes, and school supplies and planning first day of school pics.  It brings all the feels. We think we’re preparing them, but it’s really us that need the help navigating those first day flutters. Let me end by helping you through this moment that feels soooo big.

  • Allow all the feels – Emotions run amok from happiness and excitement to worry to straight up grief. All of it is okay, mama. This is a big day for both of you. Don’t mute your feelings. It’s possible to feel elation and grief simultaneously. Drop your kid off and then take whatever time you need to process what you’re experiencing. You can also write about the day and share your sentiments with your child years later when they graduate from high school or prepare for another life transition.
  • Do it with a friend – Difficult times are often easier to manage with support. Find a friend or neighbor who is also sending a child to kindergarten for the first time and send the kids off together. Then go grab coffee or tea or a delicious breakfast together. Mommy friends for the win!
  • Start a new tradition – Create a “Twas the Night Before the First Day of School” tradition. Get your child(ren)’s input to fashion a fabulous evening adventure. It could be dinner at a favorite restaurant, a fun movie to watch or game to play, or special back-to-school dessert. Just get creative and do something fun as a family and create memories that will last a lifetime.
I’d love to hear what things have helped any of you seasoned moms who have sent children to kindergarten. Share in the comments!

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