Bracing for the Big Step into Kindergarten

 
Image Courtesy Unsplash

Image Courtesy Unsplash

My oldest is starting Kindergarten this week and I have all the feels! 

My emotions yoyo from one day to the next, and sometimes I am so excited for her because she is so excited, and then the next day I’m a bit of a wreck wondering when I will get to spend quality time with my girl.

But I know I can get through this, with the help of a few good friends whose littles are a year ahead of her, and have passed along their words of wisdom. Plus I’m a planner and have been doing a lot of thinking about the transition.

This provides both comfort and some anxiety.  

My daughter is an emotional child, to put it lightly, and from what I hear Kindergarten can really escalate these attributes. It’s exhausting for them to try and behave all day, learn new things, interact with their peers, and be fully immersed in a very new experience.  

I’m not exactly sure how my little "Jekyll and Hyde” could get any more emotional, but I’m buckling in now in preparation.  

Most school districts now follow a gradual entry system including the first day where parents are required to stay as well as half days and that kind of thing. However, the transition can still be tough, or so I’ve heard.

I don’t love being unprepared for things, so I’m really soaking in what others have told me, and because I’m a planner, all of these “words of wisdom” have me game-planning hard right now.  

First and foremost, carving out some alone time with both my daughter and my twin boys is going to be key. I am so fortunate for how much flexibility I have in my work schedule, SO FORTUNATE. I’ve thought a lot about my schedule and the kids’ schedules, and who needs what the most right now. 

It’s a bit of a delicate balance for me, as I am also hyper-aware of the fact that this is the one and only year I will get some serious quality time in with the boys, as they will be starting Kindy next year.  

I’ve managed to change my work schedule slightly in order to be there for school drop-off and pick-up, but I’ve also got the boys in daycare for a few extra hours on one of the days so that I get some one-on-one time in with my daughter.  

I’ll be working four days week, so I’ll have a day off with the boys as well.  Again, I’m so lucky to be able to have this flexibility.

My daughter really needs one-on-one time, even now, so making sure there is even a few hours per week carved out just for her will go far.  

Another important factor in all of this is limiting our after-school structured activities.

I’ve talked about kids and sports before, and I’m the first to admit that I want my kids to try everything and to really love sports, but I’m also an advocate of balance and making sure we don’t burn our kids out.   

My daughter absolutely loved dance last year and wanted to do about three different dance classes this year. That was a hard ‘No’ from me. She will only be doing one.

We had a hard time deciding whether or not to sign her up for hockey as she has shown interest, and my husband and I have both played hockey all of our lives. One day she would be adamant that she wanted to play, and the next she wanted nothing to do with it. 

With starting school and doing dance that would be enough for this year. 

I’m sure in the spring she will play field hockey or baseball or something else, but for now, I’ll just take her skating when she feels up for it. Again, I’m really trying to limit the emotional exhaustion as much as we can.  

Even with all the planning, I’m still freaking out a little, but I’m also really excited for her and I hope that this new-found independence (especially space from her brothers) will set the stage for more of a “flourishing” year for her than a struggle. 

A lot of her frustrations stem from her brothers, or so it seems, and she does a lot better when she is apart from them, so again, I’m hopeful that school will be just what she needs. 

I would love to hear any tips, advice, or even some horror stories from your first few weeks, months of Kindergarten to better prepare me! 

I especially would love to know if anyone had a really emotional child that did really well with the transition! 

Kristie Sykes