My oldest son, Noah, is about to start kindergarten in just one week. Is he ready? Am I ready? I know I am certainly not the first mother to worry about this, and won’t be the last either. He went to preschool the past 2 years, but somehow this feels so different, and more scary to me.
Since he was born 5 ½ years ago, I have been very involved with his life. I’m sure many would call me to be a very over-protective mom. After maternity leave, I cried the first morning I dropped him off at daycare. Since becoming a mom, I never returned to work full time. I worked in an office while he spent the time at daycare, which was very hard for me. When he was 2 ½ years old, I became a full time stay at home mom. Eventually I picked up some work I could do while home during nap time, and it has allowed me to continue to be at home with both of my boys. I wonder if I would feel differently if I had worked full time and he went to day care from 3 months old until now? Would I be less over-protective?
As I mentioned, he went to preschool the past 2 years. It was a drop off program, first 2 days a week as a 3 year old, then 3 days a week as a 4 year old. This year he will be going 5 days per week, and again only a half day. So it has been a good progression. In preschool, there were 2 teachers in the classroom, so he was able to get more attention. I think the biggest difference for me is the involvement I will have with his teachers. In preschool, I dropped him off at his classroom and had an opportunity to share any news or ask any questions with his teachers. Then at the end of his day, we got a brief synopsis of what the kids did that day. In kindergarten, I won’t get that. I do plan to drop him off, but it will just be curbside drop-off. I have been told that at pick up, after the buses leave, I could have an opportunity for a bit of face time with the teachers, and that the teachers are great at responding to emails. Plus, his school is very open to in-class parent volunteers, so I certainly plan to do that as often as I can. He won’t be taking the bus, at least not in the beginning. I have many reasons, but the biggest one is that I’m not ready to let go. Like it or not, he’ll be going to kindergarten, but at least I can still drive him there rather than someone else, and chat with his teacher if need be.
I also worry if he is really ready to handle kindergarten. Can he sit still long enough? He is a very active boy. He does love to sit and do art projects, but I’m not sure if he can be calm enough for the entire class time. And I worry whether he is smart enough. He made great progress during preschool last year, but I have concerns. I know it’s not fair to compare him to his friends, but I don’t think he is as advanced as many of them. I have spoken with his teacher for this coming year and have been reassured he is ready, but of course I still worry.
I will have to practice my brave face not my scared face, to encourage him to be brave and not scared. And keep telling myself that every mother and child goes through this rite of passage, and does just fine. I am very excited for him to learn and to make new friends.
Please check back mid-September to hear how the first couple of weeks are going. And of course, I’d love any advice from other moms who’ve sent off their kids to kindergarten – How was the experience for you? Any advice to make the transition easier?
Sarah is mother to Noah and Kyle. She lives with her husband in Plymouth, Minnesota.