Dear Mother of a Child entering Kindergarten,
This is so hard, isn’t it? I was you last year. And the anxiety and excitement is still fresh in my mind. I remember scouring the internet for help, for advice – for a magic combination of things I could do to make this new experience okay for my child – and okay for me.
I wanted an older and wiser mom to sit me down – and tell me the secret!
But here is the truth. There is no password, there is no guidebook for loosening your grip on that little child’s hand. I offer you a few pieces of hard won advice based on what I’ve learned the last year, all while knowing…
- Nothing can make this easier. This is one of those watershed moments in life that no one can really put a band-aid on. And truthfully – you would be mad at yourself later, if you didn’t let yourself feel every second of this. I know you are fighting the tears – but don’t. Let yourself be in this moment. Let your heart feel the growing pains. It’s okay. Feel all the feelings.
- Become friends with your child’s Teacher. Trust me on this, it’s much easier to send your child to class everyday when you feel comfortable with the adult they will be spending so much of the day with. Do your best to get to know your child’s teacher. If you can, offer to be room mom or to help out when it fits your schedule. Not only does it help your child’s teacher, but it lets you get a rare glimpse into classroom life! Seeing your child feeling comfortable and cared for helps calm your mama nerves. And if a problem comes up later, it’s easier to talk to the teacher if you’re not virtual strangers.
- Band together! Try to connect with other parents that have kids going into Kindergarten for the first time too. It helps to have someone to vent to. One thing that really helped me, was getting together with a few other moms for a “Boo hoo Breakfast” after drop off the first day of school. Knowing you’re meeting other moms helps get you to leave the classroom! And it’s nice not to feel judged for your red eyes and used up pack of tissues. Plus – you’re basically guaranteed a hug, on a morning you’re probably going to need it.
- Host a Playdate or two. Knowing some of the kids your child will be in school with all year, can help your kiddo to relax and make friends. And that, will help you to relax too. It’s also nice to be able to put a face with a name when your child comes home after school and starts telling you about their day!
- Be Ready. I know it’s scary to hear, but no matter how well you prepare – you can’t make it all turn out like you want it to. It’s very likely that at some point in the year, your child is going to be left out. You may forget that its pajama day – and your kiddo may be the only kid not in their cutest pj’s. Maybe their kindergarten teacher only sees that they don’t know their sight words, but seems to miss that they know every species and classification of bugs! They might not get invited to the birthday party everyone is talking about, and it might hurt their feelings. I know you want to control all these things – but you can’t. You can only control how you react to them. So take some time now, to think through the way you hope to handle situations like these, and make a game plan.
While this transition isn’t an easy one, it has it’s own rewards. You will see your child’s independence grow. You will get to see facets of their personality that have been previously undiscovered! You will see them triumph, and you will see them fall. And you will slowly start to loosen your grip on that little hand. Not because you want to, but because they need you to.
Dear Mom of a Child about to start Kindergarten… if I could jump through this computer screen right now and let you cry on my shoulder, I would! You’re not alone. Stay strong mama. You are going to get through this.
PS. All that said – now would be a really good time to buy ice cream, and a bottle of wine.