This is the first day, in what seems like forever, since we’ve hit above 50 degrees. It might be the middle of April but it feels like the middle of February. Although the weather doesn’t say “Spring” these days, one thing that does is all of the excitement surrounding Kindergarten Round-Up within our community and the surrounding communities. It is so exciting/overwhelming/emotional/nerve-wracking/stressful experience ever. Especially if you are a mom who is putting their first in public schools.
The excitement is felt now, but when you’re on week 2 of school in the fall and your kid is coming home having an emotional break down daily, you’re going to start questioning whether this was a good decision or if you need to shift your life to be a homeschool mom.
I am speaking to the future mom who, in just about 4 months, will experience the extreme highs and lows that come with having a first time kindergartner.
Cole, our oldest, has always had a passion for learning. He loves school, reading, drawing, writing and all that comes with it. We knew that starting him young in a pre-school would benefit him because he craved that structure. Although I was a stay at home mom and he didn’t need to be in school or under someone else’s care, we felt for him it was important. We started him off just a few days a week so he was able to get breaks from the routine. I remember reading an article around that time about kids in school and being overstimulated. Cole was 3/4 years old at the time and the writer had talked about overstimulated kids in school and how they just need space to breath after school. I love what she talked about and so we started implementing some things after the days Cole was in pre-school, to help him unwind.
The writer of the article spoke about how we, as adults, are able to find down time and unwind when we’ve had a busy day at work and get burnt out some days too. We use our commute home or evening after bed time to breath and recharge. Kids also need that space and many are not getting it. Here are some tips that work well for us to help create that space for your kids…
- Don’t get upset if they don’t remember what they did that day. They are still trying to process it all. Don’t make your kids talk. They will start talking if you give them your time later, so you can listen. Be available, always!
- If you pick your kids up from School, give them 5 minutes before you talk. Find a common in every day and start there. Cole has an afternoon snack every day. I will start by asking him what his friends sitting at his table brought in that day too.
- If they ride the bus home, give them a hug and give them a minute to breath. You know they are going to be starving the minute they walk in the door, so set out a snack at the table and meet them there. You don’t have to say anything, just your presence is enough.
- If you notice they’re crabby, irritable or moody find a quiet activity for them to do. Coloring is always a favorite in our house. Play-doh, reading, just getting them outside for fresh air.
- Be in control of the schedule. Our Thursdays during the school year are always busy. We are in and out of the house about 4 times between 2-7pm. I know on those nights that life is just busy. What I can do to control the schedule to make the time we do have at home easy for everyone else. We have dinner at 4pm and it is usually something light and quick. I do not feel guilty about throwing everyone a pile of chips on their plate with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (although they just had a PB&J for lunch). It is ok to go into survival mode a couple nights a week if you need to. Also, know when your family needs a break. They are in Kindergarten – don’t forget that. If a soccer practice is missed because you guys need a day to just rest at home and catch up, the world will still go on, I promise!
On the days where everyone is crabby and no one wants to talk, Danny and I joke about the flood that happens at bed time. Once 7:30 hits and it’s time for bed, all of the stories from the day just come pouring out.
Always remember that each kid is different and each day is different. Find what works for your kid and don’t be offended if they don’t want to talk right away. That ‘being available’ piece that I talked about above in the first tip, is where the magic happens.