Alright newbies, listen up! Your little one is going to kindergarten and that is AMAZING. Whether you’re overjoyed and excited or nervous and sad, there are a number of things you need to know as a parent with a child now in full-time school.
And me, I’m just the gal to tell you about it! I am in no way trying to dampen your excitement of smother your emotions, these are just things I wish I had known as a newbie kindy parent.
1) Lunches. You’re going to detest packing them. No matter if your child was in full-time daycare before kindergarten and you’re “used to it”, school lunch is different. There are so many rules you need to follow AND your kids will see what other kids are eating and will inevitably want crap food packed. They’re getting older now, they’re paying attention. They’re going to notice. Stay strong. Pack the healthy stuff. Repeatedly. Chuck a Hershey’s kiss in every now and then to keep it exciting. Want to really make their day? Scribble a heart on a sticky note. BAM! #motheroftheyear.
2) Your child will start sleeping in. If you have a child like mine for the first 5 years of their life they were awake before 6am. Somehow, magically, school hits and they sleep in. You have to wake them up. I realize they’re tired from school and that’ll play a HUGE part in it…but seriously?! Enjoy waking up a tired 5-year old, it’s quite magical. Spike your coffee.
3) You’re going to be late…every day. I’m not sure what happens, but there seems to be a time-shift, a time vortex or some such nonsense in the morning. Also…see #2. You will swear that you woke them up with enough time, but inevitably, every morning, you’re going to be throwing lunch bags at your kids, yelling at them to get their shoes on (for the 887th time) and somehow…you’ll make it out the door and to school just as the buzzer is ringing. Ps. You’re going to forget backpacks at least 5 times this year.
4) Two words: lice, pinworms. You’re welcome. Just know that at some point during the year you’ll get notified that a child in your child’s class has one of these disgusting bugs. Blech. Go buy the stuff you need now, have it on hand. Seriously. Don’t wait. Go now. Oh, and a little tip: put a few drops of tea tree oil in your child’s bottle of shampoo and for the little ladies in your world…hair up. ALL YEAR.
5) You will no longer be your child’s favorite. That designation now goes to your child’s teacher. This isn’t a bad thing, but it’s something you should know is coming. You’re going to hear that Mrs. So-and-So did this and that and Mr. So-and-So is so amazing because he told a silly joke and sang a song. Celebrate this. Your child is growing and expanding his/her circle. Go teachers!
6) Reading sucks. Even the most patient of parents I speak with struggle with this one. While of course, you want your child to read, teaching them requires a great deal of patience….and wine. You’ll come to loathe words like “they” and “through” because they MAKE NO SENSE. Try to sound them out. Go ahead. The English language is terrible. C-A-T..okay, that make sense. Enough? What the hell English? How are you doing that? Ugh. Reading…you must do it, you must remain patient. Then you must drink wine. Problem solved.
7) Some peoples’ kids are real a-holes. It’s time you teach your child that they don’t have to be friends with everyone. Kind? Yes, of course. But you absolutely need to teach them that it’s okay to not be good buddies with everyone in their class. Because, inevitably, there are going to be kids in your child’s class that they won’t get along with. And that’s OKAY! Do you get along with everyone in your world? Are you friends with everyone? No, of course not. And if you do…can we be friends? I need you in my world. Anyways, back to the kids…teach your child kindness and forgiveness. But also teach them to stand up for themselves and to walk away from someone who makes them unhappy. Friendship should come easily, it shouldn’t be surrounded by drama. And yes, drama happens in kindergarten. Trust me.
8) Your schedule will never be yours again. I hope you enjoyed the freedom you had before school started. Because now you’re at the beck and call of your child’s education. School plays, after-school sports, meet-the-teacher nights, report cards, before and after school care, homework, cupcake baking…the world is their oyster. Education is so important and your child’s experience there is dependent on you and your commitment to it. Goodbye, freedom. Hello, massively scheduled calendars. YAY!
I’m definitely not trying to dampen your excitement, but the above eights points are filled with information I wish I’d had. Be prepared. Stay strong. And honestly, enjoy the experience. It’s a new chapter in your life and theirs and it is filled with a lot of magic, wonder, exploration and growth.
BONUS TIP: Some of your best friends will come out of your kids’ school friends so be open to new friendships and new experiences. Oh yeah…and to add to point #7…some parents are real a-holes, too. Just walk away and know you’re doing the best you can. Go you!
Off you go, Kindy Parent. You got this!