I can’t believe it’s already August – the Sunday of summer.
Pretty soon summer vacation will be over. It’s time to get back to a routine. Time to buy backpacks and supplies and uniforms.
The end of summer is always bittersweet. My soon-to-be 4th grader loves school and is always excited to go back. But I must admit, I love the quality time we get together during vacation.
This year will probably be more bitter than sweet for me because I’m sending my youngest off to kindergarten. And although I’ve done this before with my oldest daughter, it doesn’t make it much easier.
She’s never been to daycare. She didn’t go to preschool. We’ve always been lucky enough to have my mother-in-law watch her while we work. So this will be our first time leaving her with someone we aren’t related to.
If you’re going through the same thing right now, here are some things I’ve decided will make it easier.
Get into a routine. The earlier, the better. Kindergarten may – or may not – be more structure than your little one is used to. Fortunately, everyone in our house typically follows my oldest daughter’s school year routine when it comes to things like when we eat dinner and go to bed. So, it’s something my kindergartner has already been exposed to. But don’t wait until the day school starts to get back into a routine. I recommend starting 2 or 3 weeks earlier if you can.
Read books about kindergarten. Is your child nervous about heading off to school? Books can be a great way to teach them what school will be like and to get them excited about it. And of course, reading together is also a great way to spend quality time. A couple of great books about starting kindergarten include: “First Day Jitters,” by Julie Danneberg and “Kindergarten Diary,” by Antoinette Portis. You can find a full list of book recommendations here.
Keep goodbyes short. This is probably much easier said than done. But if you’ve ever dropped your little one off at a babysitter’s or daycare, then you know drawing out your departure can make it harder not only on your child, but on yourself. So share a hug and a kiss, and send them off on their new adventure.
Be positive. Has your child ever gotten upset just from seeing you upset? It’s as if mine feed directly off my emotions. This is why most of the time I try to hide when I’m feeling stressed, or anxious, or overwhelmed. That’s also why it’s important to be positive about sending your child off to school. I’m sure leaving my daughter will be harder on me than it will be on her, so I’ll have to make sure she doesn’t sense my anxiety.
Set aside time each evening to share in your child’s day. This is a new and exciting experience for your child. Make sure to set aside time each day for them to tell their stories, show you their work, or voice any concerns. It’s a great way to stay engaged in your child’s educational experience.
Enjoy being the parent of a kindergartner. We all know time goes so quickly. I feel like both of my girl’s were just born and now one is off to school, and the other is a mere two years from middle school. Take time to live in and enjoy this new experience.
How have you prepared your kindergartner for the transition to school? Comment and let me know!