By: Robyn Maxine Eidinger
We all knew the time was coming but did we expect it too come quite so fast? I know I didn’t. It seems like only yesterday we were sleep training, bottle feeding and changing diapers. Fast forward five years, and we are preparing both physically and mentally for our not so little babies to go off to big kid school.
If you are anything like me, you have been thinking about this for quite some time. Thinking of all the ways in which you can prepare both you and your child for the transition and making endless lists to ensure nothing is forgotten. I will be completely honest, this is all new to me as well. This is my first baby that has seemingly turned into a big kid over night and I want to make sure that I have covered all my basses so that when the big day comes, we are ready or as ready as we can be.
- Talk to them
Change, although exciting for some can be extremely challenging for others. If your child is anything like mine, then change is not something that comes easily. We have dealt with this year after year when they change classes at daycare and although she is in the same environment, knows all the kids and teachers, it is still a huge transition that requires months of pep talks. In the end, she comes around and realizes that it really isn’t that scary after all and embraces it. I am a big believer, that although they are young and might not fully understand what we are saying, it is so important to communicate. Now, not only will she be changing schools for the fist time but none of her friends are going to be attending the same school either. At first, she was petrified at the thought of starting kindergarten but she seems to have come around and after countless conversations, she finally seems excited about starting the next chapter in her life…. let’s see!
- Making friends
Being at daycare since they were little has its benefits, but in my eyes, it also has some drawbacks. Making friends is not really a skill that is learned because the kids they are with, for the most part, are the only friends they have ever known. I know that for my little one, being in unfamiliar social settings is daunting. Although she is a very friendly and outgoing, when put in these situations, she becomes extremely shy and closed off. To try and make her transition easier and to help facilitate or jump start making friends, I have reached out to other moms via social media that have children starting kindergarten at the same school, and over the course of the summer, we have been having playdates. I am really hoping that this makes her feel more at ease school starts.
- School supplies
How overwhelming are you all feeling about school supplies? I can remember when I was in school, school supply shopping was my favorite part of the year but now I completely understand why my mom dreaded it so much. For one, it can be quite costly! Of course, we all want our kids to be dressed in nice, new clothes on the first day, we want them to be sporting the most in style or trending running shoes, lunch bags and school bags alike. But let’s be real, it can get out of hand really fast. My approach is to just do what I can and to ensure that she has a say in what she gets. So I have been giving her 3 choices, from that she has to choose the one she wants. It’s a give and take really but it works and I’m not going broke in the process. In regards to the actual school supplies, I will be hunting for the best bargains, that is for sure! I am thankful that our school is not being overly specific with brand name items. I have been told by others, that the kindergarten supply list is nothing in comparison to other years. I guess, this is just the beginning…
I have been told by many that making lunches is probably the hardest thing about leaving daycare and entering into school. I know we had it easy, at daycare my kids were given three meals and 2 snacks a day. I never had to think twice about lunches. Thankfully my little one is a good eater so I’m not overly concerned. Nonetheless, I have started to make lists of possible lunch ideas and plan on making extra at dinner time to be able to send leftovers on occasion. My plan is to prepare as much as I can on the weekend so that I really don’t have any additional stress in the morning because getting out of the house is a challenge in itself.
- Let’s not forget about mom
So, yes, this transition will be extremely hard for the kids. It’s a new school, full of new faces, it’s to be expected. But let’s admit, it is just as hard for mom as it is for the kids. We have to come to terms with the fact that our little ones really aren’t that little anymore. That it is time to close one chapter and open another. I know I am excited, I am so proud of the person my daughter has become and I know that school with be so great for her. On the other hand, I am petrified for her. I am scared that she won’t fit in, that she won’t like her teachers, the school or just about anything. We have to remember that they sense our hesitation and fears. Please take the time for you, to prepare yourself for the transition as well. It is a huge transition for us as well, maybe not physically but definitely emotionally. My last piece of advice would be to find a way to document the big day. It might just be the beginning of kindergarten, and to some, it’s not be a big deal but to the kids, it is huge. You will appreciate having something to look back at to remember this chapter in your lives.
Keep in mind that you are not alone, all the other first-time kindergarten moms are in the same boat as you. They likely share the same excitement, fears and are just as unsure about things as you are. So, take the opportunity to connect with others and to lean on them if you have too. Who knows, you might just end up making some new, long lasting friends of your own.