By Debra Medina
Lots of kids will be going back to school this fall, but one group of kids in particular will cause their parents a lot more stress and trepidation than others: the ones starting Kindergarten. I am one of those parents whose child will be going off to school for the first time, and I know it’s going to be an emotional day; probably more for us than for our kids. My child will be super excited and probably a little nervous, whether it’s from taking a bus for the first time, or from meeting new friends and her first teacher. I have been counting down the months and days until my daughter begins this journey, and after doing some research, I’d like to share some helpful tips that will hopefully help you (and I), with a little preparation, turn our fears and worry into a day of celebration.
First, we will want to make sure our camera/phone is charged up and ready. I plan to get shots of my child in her “first day of school” outfit with her backpack. I also plan to get some shots of her getting on the bus, in her seat through the bus window, the bus pulling away, me driving down the street behind the bus, sneaking into the school to take pictures of her getting off the bus, etc. Ok, you get the point. I also expect I will want to take the day off of work to recover from the crying fit that I’ll be holding in until the bus pulls away! If you will be driving or walking to school, you can take some pics of your child in his classroom and with his/her new teacher.
Second, I have been told to be prepared for some backlash that first week. While we can look back and see how much fun Kindergarten was, it’s a brand new experience for the kids and they may express negative emotions about this big change. They may be resistant to going back the next day (“I don’t wanna go to school!”), they may exaggerate the actions of the other kids (“They wouldn’t let me play with anything!”), or the actions of their teacher (“She told me to sit down – she was so mean!”). Just keep in mind that a learning curve exists for both you and your child – but I’m told that things will get better quickly, and by the end of the first month we’ll both wonder what we were ever worried about. And if your kids have spent time in day care or preschool, they will adjust more quickly to the new experience.
Other parents have also told me to get involved with the school, and I plan to do so. I will join the PTA, and volunteer for school trips when I can; I will really get to know the teacher, the principal, and even the bus driver! I will let them know who I am and that I care about the school and my child’s education. Parents have told me about making “guest appearances” to read to the class – that sounds like a lot of fun! Being involved is not only good for the kids; it’s good for parents to be in touch with what is going on every day while your children are there. It will make the transition easier for them and for you!
So let’s not sweat it. If we show nervousness around the children, they will be nervous too. Let’s focus on the positive, on how great Kindergarten will be for them, on all the fun things they will do and learn. Let’s get them excited for it! Especially when we have to help them with their homework (yes, there is homework in Kindergarten)! So it might be a good time to brush up on our basic handwriting and addition skills. I hope our kids’ first year in school is a great one!