As summer sun and fun comes to a close, it’s time to look forward to a new school year. Each year is much like the last for those of us with school-age kiddos: early mornings, backpacks stuffed with fresh pencils and notebooks, and coffee. Lots of coffee. But what about those who are doing this for the first time? For new kindergarten students, these first weeks will be exciting, scary, exhausting, and a lot of fun. For new kindergarten parents? Same sentiment.
There are hundreds of lists and articles on what we can do to get our kids ready for kindergarten, but what about parents? These are our babies, our wee peanuts who were once just a blurry black-and-white smudge on a sonogram image.
If your child has been in daycare, preschool, or has stayed home these first five years, Kindergarten is a major milestone! With major milestones come major emotions. Below are a few ways to help parents prepare their hearts for their new big kid:
Checking in with yourself about your emotions is important. You may feel torn between excitement (big-kid school, yay!) and trepidation (big kid school, yay?). That is okay! There is a spectrum of emotion surrounding this transition, and wherever you fall, remember it’s normal, and it’s also normal to fluctuate.
Practice Self Care
I knew I would cry when I dropped my eldest daughter off at Kindergarten. Driving up to the school, I could feel the lump in my throat, my eyes burning, and my voice going all raspy with feels. Once I got her delivered safely to the playground, she scampered off with barely a “bye!” and a wave. I went back to my car and bawled.
After that? I picked up a strong coffee and a new book, a little treat for not cracking there on the playground. This year, when I take my youngest daughter to Kindergarten for the first time, I plan on doing the same: coffee and a new book. That’s my idea of self-care, but yours may look like an exercise class, a walk, a meditation session, or a long, hot bath. Whatever it is, take time to be kind to yourself.
Talk it Out
Whether it’s with your partner, other parents who are in the same boat, or a close friend, it’s a good idea to talk about this new, exciting stage. Talk about the things you’re looking forward to or the things that make you nervous. Talk about your feelings, whatever they may be. Ask for the support you need and lean on those you love. They’ll help you bear up under this transition.
With these tips in mind, let’s get our hearts ready for school, fellow Kindergarten parents. Watch out world, the graduating class of 2031 is about to hit the scene!
Originally published August 2018.