What really happened on the first day of kindergarten

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The first day of kindergarten has arrived. Most would think that this day is filled with excitement from their eager, confident, social five-year old, but instead it was filled with sadness and anxiety.

My son was his typical self this morning, but as soon as I said, “It’s time to get ready for your first day of school” his attitude changed.

Nothing seemed to go right for him. He didn’t like the button down shirt, his shorts were too big and one sock was tighter than the other.

His brother seemed to be in his way and the fighting began.

My husband started to question, “What is wrong with him?” and I reminded him of how Gavin was on his last day of Pre-K.

It was a flashback to the sad, anxious five-year old that understood that everything was about to change. His friends would be heading off to different schools and he would be alone in kindergarten.

He masked those vulnerable feelings with anger and bitterness, fighting me on everything.

Well, the same thing happened this morning.

I took a deep breath and began to normalize it all for him.

“It’s okay to feel nervous and scared.”

“If you miss us, remember the story of Chester the Raccoon. We are always with you.”

My instincts were right. The flood of tears came and he tried to deny these real emotions, by shaking his head and swatting at me.

It’s hard for kids to accept these raw, vulnerable feelings when they are always praised as to how confident they are.

Within a few minutes, he began to change.

When he saw his neighborhood friends walking to school, the silly little boy threw on his back pack and stood on the corner waiting for them to acknowledge this very special day for him.

We took the traditional first day of school photos and headed down the street to his new school.

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When he saw a familiar face from his baseball team, the bright-eyed, eager, confident, social butterfly began to come out.

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Then the real emotions began to settle in with his parents. I looked over and saw my husband holding back tears. We were sad that our little man was growing up so quickly.

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We will continue our journey of parenthood into the transition of a school-aged child. I’m sure we aren’t the only family going through the waves of emotions.

Who else can relate?

Related articles:

DIY Milestone Frame

Time is Flying By

Release Those Fears to Worry Dolls 

 

DIY Milestone Frame

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Kindergarten is here, which means the traditional first day of school photos begin!

I stole this idea from my sister-in-law and thought that it could apply to any type of milestone in a child’s life.

Child life specialists could create one with patients for the last day of treatment or discharge from the hospital. How about tracking a child’s progress in therapy, new sibling/pet or a goal that they reached? It’s endless, so be creative and have fun with it!

All that is needed:

  • Picture Frame
  • Foam Letters/Numbers
  • Tacky Glue
  • Stickers

collage frame

 

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What are you going to create?

 

Dreading Back to School/Work

Many of us have enjoyed the last weekend of summer, having barbecues, swimming and spending time with our children before they start school this week. There have been many posts of the excitement from some parents to get their kids out of their hair, to claim their house back and have some peace and quiet. I have personally said, “I can’t wait for Pre-K to start! Woo Hoo!”

Inside of a classroom with back to school on the chalkboard

But there is a large position of parents who are dreading back to school because it means back to work.

Yes, the teachers, school counselors or therapists that work in a school district. Some of them soaked up every ounce of summer break with their kids and even got some time for themselves as well. But the people who I am really referring to are the new moms who have to go back to the new school year and leave their infant behind. Many were on maternity leave this past spring and got to enjoy the additional two month summer break , but it still wasn’t enough.

Now I understand that there are many parents who envy the perks of a teacher’s schedule. Many mothers are lucky to get 6-12 weeks off before having to return to work. What about the other Parent? Many don’t get more than a few days to a week. It is incredibly challenging and emotional to dive right back into work after having a baby, regardless of the time off.

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I write this post because I am watching my sister-in-law struggle as she has to leave her son for the first time since he was born and return back to work tomorrow. I have so much empathy for her and send nothing but positive vibes her way.

I know there are many in her shoes that are also dreading tomorrow.

So what are some ways that can help with this transition?

-Spousal Support- Having your other half be there to really listen to your thoughts and validate your feelings

-Family/Friend Support- Leaning on others to let out the tears, frustration, anger and to make you smile and laugh

-Scheduling Quality Time- Having rituals that you get to do with your child (dinner, story time, bath)

-Ask for Help- You may need to juggle the housework and weekly errands. Maybe a friend, family member or mother’s helper can help pick up this work so you can focus that time with your kids.

-Me Time- You will still need time for yourself and shouldn’t feel guilty about it. It will help you be a better parent and de-stress from the juggle of work and kids.

Realize that no one is judging you. As a parent we are all our own worst critic. We shame ourselves too often thinking that we are damaging our kids when in reality we are doing an amazing job.

We should empower one another more often. We are doing our best, whether we are stay at home or work part-time or full-time. What really matters is that we embrace, support and love our little ones unconditionally.

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