The pencils are sharpened, the backpack has been chosen, and you have done everything you can think of to prepare your child for the first day of Kindergarten and then it hits you: Your baby is going to Kindergarten! There are plenty of materials parents can use to prepare their child for that first day, but no one tells mom or dad what to do when they let go of the child that has been by their side for five years.
From a mom who has sent three kids to Kindergarten (so far), here are some tips to get yourself ready for that monumental day:
Get social - You will feel more comfortable sending your child off to school if you are familiar with their classmates and their parents. Set up a playdate at a park and invite everyone to come. Get to know the children’s names, as well as their parents, so that you feel more connected to the students your child will spend their days with. Also, consider starting a Kindergarten playgroup a year or two prior to sending your child to Kindergarten so you and your child have time to make friends before they begin school.
Volunteer - Just because your child is away at school doesn’t mean you have to be far. Consider becoming a Scout leader, serving as a room parent, or ask where you can be most hopeful in your child’s school. Serving at your child’s school helps you become familiar with the staff, students, and families. Plus, you will feel more comfortable and connected as your child continues their education.
Use reinforcements - It can be hard, especially the first day of school, to let go. Try to keep your fears, nerves, and sadness under wraps as you drop your child off. Kids can sense your feelings and may feed off of them, making drop-off even more stressful. If possible, ask another family member to tag along that first day to help you stay positive and keep your fears at bay. Sometimes a voice of reason (and later, a shoulder to cry on) is just what you need. Some schools host a coffee or breakfast after drop-off the first day of school to help connect you to other parents who are missing their little ones, too.
Make the best of it - I miss my kids terribly when they are at school, but I also make the best of it. When your child is away, use the time wisely to clean, work out, shower, cook, run errands, or take time to recharge your own battery. In no time, you will settle into a new normal and after seeing the growth and maturity in your child as they thrive in Kindergarten, sending them off to first grade should be a little easier... maybe.
Sarah is a wife and a mother of six children, including triplets.
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