7 Things No One Will Tell You Before Your Child Starts Kindergarten
by Meredith Gordon
Photograph by Twenty20
It’s that time of year when kids go back to school. For parents of kids
starting kindergarten, this is a particularly exciting and stressful time of
year. Sending your little one off to kindergarten is one of those milestones
parents will remember forever. The beginning of our kid’s time
in “real school” is the beginning of our children becoming more independent.
It’s a sign they are growing up. It’s natural to shed a tear (or openly weep) as you watch your
little one walk in to school, oversized backpack and all.
But what no one tells you as you is that starting elementary school can be particularly stressful
to kids as well. While everyone will be
telling your child how excited they must be to start school,they
may be thinking, “No, thanks. I was perfectly happy playing and finger painting
in preschool.” Trust me, I know. When
my oldest started kindergarten, the blissful, lovely, school year I anticipated
was a total disaster. My kid hated school and our entire family suffered.
Had I been better prepared as a parent for the realities of what kids go
through when they go to kindergarten, I think I would have better
prepared. Instead, I assumed the
beginning of elementary school would be a sweet start into the grade school years.
Boy, was I wrong.
Brace yourself for some meltdowns. Your child will spend a good portion of their school day
being on their best behavior. That means your child will come home and
unload all of it on you. So expect tons
of meltdowns as first and know they will end eventually.
Your child will need you
differently. When your little one was in
preschool, they needed your nurturing and care. As your child becomes a kindergartener, you’ll start to see they need you more emotionally. They will need you to explain social dynamics and help deal with the natural
anxiety that comes up in kids.
Kindergarten will probably be the biggest change to date in your child’s
young life, which doesn’t mean they will be happy about it.
exhausting. Even if your child was in
preschool for full days, they will come home wiped out from
kindergarten. The expectations are higher, which is tiring for little ones.
Heck, it's tiring for grown-ups, too.
Your kid will be
starving. No matter how big of a lunch you
pack for your child, they will come home starving. Chalk it up to all that thinking!
Socializing is hard. In preschool, kids play together or
not, but social life isn’t such a big deal. That changes in kindergarten, so
expect to hear about a lot of friend issues now that your kid is in the big
Kids aren’t always happy
to go to kindergarten. Kindergarten will probably be the biggest change to date in your child’s
young life, which doesn’t mean they will be happy about it. So, make sure
to listen to your little one and know that they will eventually like
school, once they get over missing the comfort of preschool.
You won’t know
everything that’s going on inside the classroom. In preschool, you probably knew
everything that was happening in your child’s classroom. Elementary school is
different. Assume you won’t hear from school unless there’s a problem. And
then, boy, will you hear from them.
So, congrats to your little learner as he or she embarks into
kindergarten. Even if it’s a bumpy ride, what an exciting time!