My oldest entered kindergarten this year. My feelings wavered from excitement to anxiety to worry. Kindergarten was a huge milestone for me and for my child. I was no longer confined to baby talk. I could successfully join conversations about school lunches and after-school activities and fundraisers—all the other discussions that parents of school-aged children enjoyed.
Though I thought I’d have the school routine down pat, it turned out I had a lot to learn.
The school bus is scary
Okay, I’ll be honest: it’s much scarier to me than it is to her. My daughter ran off on the first day without hesitation, barely waving goodbye. I, however, fret each and every time she boards. I worry about exposing her to kids much older (and bigger) than she is. I worry about her getting off on the wrong stop—happened and resolved once already—and most of all, I worry about her venturing into a world where she no longer needs a ride from mom. And that’s the scariest.
You’ll REALLY learn about your child’s behavior
My child is extremely active—the child barely sits down. When I picked her up from daycare, I’d always ask about how well she behaved. I’d usually receive a saccharine, watered-down version of her antics I can only speculate that because I was a paying customer, they felt the need to make excuses for her behavior rather than “keeping it real.”
In kindergarten, behavior reports became a whole new ball game. While my child’s teacher is still super sweet, she doesn’t hesitate to give me the real scoop on my daughter’s behavior. And I love it.
I feel like we are a team and that together we are helping my child progress. I love that I don’t feel like my child is “pulling one over on her” or getting away with more than she should. I feel confident that her teacher is gently nudging toward her fullest potential, just as we do at home.
You’ll fall short of your own expectations…and that’s okay
I always pictured myself as volunteering, bento-box lunch-making, warm-breakfast-each-morning type of mom. The truth is that most days I feel accomplished just getting my child out the door with a packed lunch and a cereal breakfast. At the end of the day though, I feel just fine. My parenting decisions are my own. I see my child learning, growing, and achieving personal goals left and right. And at the end of the day, that’s what really matters.
Share your kindergarten and preschool advice for first-time parents with us!