Photo by Amy, Using Our WordsYesterday was my son's first day of kindergarten. And, yes, I've known this day was coming for close to five and a half years. But it snuck up on me anyway. I wasn't ready for it. But it turns out my son, Big, was. Which was really surprising given how sensitive and emotional he tends to be. As I look back on all the things I should have done, I realize that not doing some of the prep is actually what led to our family's success. So should you have a newborn baby/stacks of paper you can't see over/denial issues, here's how I suggest you get your kid ready for kindergarten.
Forget about the summer worksheets your preschool teacher sends home. I came across ours last week, swore at myself, and asked Big if he wanted to do them. He picked a couple he liked and seemed excited about getting to work. I figure if I'd remembered I had the monster stack, I might have pushed him to do them all…and made him a bit more nervous about the academics to come.
It turns out we practiced recess. Following instructions isn't scary for my big (sniff, sniff) boy. It was unstructured part of the day I knew would be the hardest. We spent summer playing with neighbors and exploring the kindergarten play yard. He knew the lay of the land, had time to master the monkey bars and could find all his buddies doing their favorite things.
I let him break the rules. I'm lucky to have a good listener, so when I see him pushing limits, I know it means he's comfortable. This summer I was often too tired to fight him (did I mention the newborn baby?) and would watch as he tested me-or authority in general. Of course I'd talk to him about his actions in a calm setting afterwards, and I'm hoping-really hoping-those talks will help him make smarter choices when he's off being all grown up and stuff.
I kept him up (a tiny bit) late partying the night before school started. I'm not one to turn down fun with friends, so we joined our neighbors in a last-night-of-summer BBQ and let the kids run wild. Instead of sitting at home organizing and fretting about tomorrow, we were laughing and living in the moment. And by the time Big went to bed, he was exhausted and asleep in no time.
I woke him up early to watch cartoons before school. Routine is a must for this kid, so I tried to make this morning just like any other. Instead of letting him sleep in (until, you know, 6:15am) and rushing him out the door, I woke him up and turned on the TV for his usual morning show and cuddle with his baby sister. By the time we got to the bus stop, he was wide awake and ready to take on the world. Well, the kindergarten playground, at least.
And what did he think of his first day of school? "Best. Day. Ever." Me? Well, it wasn't so bad after all. And I have my summer slacking to thank for that.
How was your little one's first day?