Well, we did it. Our firstborn child is now officially in KINDERGARTEN. And somehow, we survived the first week.
Let me back up for a moment so you can understand my apprehension. It’s not that I was an emotional wreck about my kid going off to school (I wasn’t). It’s that our summer has been really stinkin’ hard on our sweet girl, and I was terrified of yet another new place to go and routine to learn. She had two amazing years of preschool where she never once was upset to be dropped off…and then summer camp started and she cried almost every single day at drop off. And fought about going every morning. And spent every evening giving us the crap because of her long, hard day. It was joyous. Really.
SO: Kindergarten. I was like…this is gonna be bad.
But it totally wasn’t. And here’s what we did to survive it as parents and help our daughter survive it too.
1.Tour the school.
Nothing helps kids like familiarity. So if you are able, show your child their new school before they start. We showed Harlyn the outside one weekend day and then she got to see the school for her assessment and again for her family interview, where she got an actual tour.
2. Go to events.
Two days before school started, there was a New Family Picnic we attended. Harlyn got to see her school again and meet some new friends. She also got to see some old friends who are also attending her new school. The day before school started, they had Meet the Teacher, where we got to go in, meet the teachers and drop off all her school supplies. I think this picnic night and meet the teacher REALLY helped her feel comfortable…so if your school has any events taking place before school starts, GO!
3. Talk about it. With excitement.
We have been talking about how fun and amazing Kindergarten will be for MONTHS at this point. We never missed a chance to say how excited we were for Harlyn to start at her new school. And even with the first week now behind us, we’re still showing our enthusiasm for school and every detail she reports.
4. See their growth and independence as a good thing.
Your Kindergartener needs to know that you support them growing up. They need to know you think it’s a good thing that they are venturing out a bit more. Sure, you might feel a little sad on the inside that your baby is growing up…but don’t pass that on to your kid. Choose to see this new chapter as a good thing, and you’ll be passing on that positivity and great attitude to them! We truly embrace this idea, so much so that one of the administrators commented about how drop off must have gone well because we were both smiling. We were smiling when most parents were crying because we know that growth, new experiences, and new challenges build character. Even in five year olds. We still felt the feels, mind you. We’re not coldhearted. But for us, Kindergarten is not the loss of our baby…it is the gain of a girl ready to spread. her. wings.
And that’s truly how we made it through the first day(s) of Kindergarten. We prepared our daughter as best we could, we stayed positive and excited, and we trusted that she could handle it.
So what was the first day like? It went really well. They did a one hour delay for the Kindergarteners so that parents could walk the kids in, take pics, and see the kids off. So we got Harlyn all settled into her desk and barely breathed thinking she might start having a mental breakdown in front of her whole class and all the parents. But she gave us a kiss and a wave, and off we went.
We both went to pick her up at the end of the day for the first day. She said it was a good day, but she was so tired that she didn’t really want to talk much. Because she’s been pretty tired every day, we haven’t probed too much (we’ve had to reign in our excitement and questioning!), so the details come slowly and we don’t know all that much yet. But what we do know is that school started on Wednesday, and by Friday she wasn’t crying about going. So for now, we’ll take that as a win and pray it continues.
How’d you and the kids do on your kids’ first day of Kindergarten? If your kids are still too young, how do you think it will go when the time comes?