By Chantal Aird
As the school year comes to an end, I look back at my daughter’s first year of school and cannot believe how much she has grown and advanced in her kindergarten skills. The same could be said of me too.
I have to admit, I felt a bit clueless about what to expect as my eldest started the school year.
As parents, we are not given manuals on how to raise our children. We are given support, forums , and advice from other parents. We are instructed on how to achieve the academic milestones and we practice with our children to prepare them in these skills; however, I was unsure on how to socially equip her. I questioned myself on whether she would make friends, would she listen to the teacher, would she ask for help, and how would she respond to not being around me all day?
In the week leading up to her first day of school, we also had to experience our first lesson on being rejected and not included when a group of children would not allow her to play tag at the playground. After drying her tears and explaining to her that not everyone will include us, but we should always try and include others, I felt my emotions taking over. I had a good cry that night over the fear she would be rejected at school and I would not be there to protect her. I had to assure myself that I had instilled resilience and adaptability in my child and that she would thrive when faced with challenges.
The first week of school was up and down. She hated it one day, and loved it the next. I found open communication with her and her teacher helped with a steady transition to accepting a school day and enjoying it. Starting school is a huge milestone and I learned that parents need to learn and grow right along with their children. Each school year will bring new challenges, new adventures and new achievements. I have learned that I need to be open to each of my child’s learning abilities. I need to be open to accepting help if my child is struggling at school. I’ve also learned the value of building a relationship with the school and other families attending our school. This does help lay a foundation in ensuring each school year is positive and fulfilling.
Next year, my second daughter starts kindergarten. I know I will have more to learn and will come to understand how I can support her and her sister, but I do feel a bit more prepared and equipped.
Here is a quick list of things I learned that will hopefully put a bit less stress on you as your child begins school in the fall!
Unless told otherwise, only label school supplies that your child will take home. I labelled everything only to find out that the class dumps all of the supplies into bins for the classroom to share! Do label things like headphones, indoor shoes, lunch kit, an Art or Portfolio Book and backpack.
Don’t get caught up in the latest fads for lunch kits, backpacks and water bottles. I found the cutest bento style lunch kit and created a whole Pinterest board on bento lunches only to find out my daughter could not even open up the dang lunch kit! Dollarstore water bottles are actually great-especially if you end up having to replace it!
Your child may not know anyone and still be invited to a Birthday Party- if so, go to the party! We found this a great way to build friendships and introduce ourselves to the families. Try and make a goal to at least have one playdate in the school year with a classmate.
Pack for the season. Pack an extra set of mittens or a hat. I also packed an extra pair of pants in case of an accident.
If you want to volunteer in the classroom, get your criminal record check sooner than later. This way you will have it on hand if needed.
Don’t stress about forgetting a book order or participating in a school fundraiser- trust me, you will have another chance! I think we had around 40 Book Order Forms this year.
Prepare. Try and have a lunch packed, backpack ready and clothes picked out the night before school. This helped alleviate the stress in the morning. I also found that if I involved my daughter in packing the lunch and choosing her clothes we had less resistance in eating her lunch and getting ready.
Above all- enjoy the moment! The year goes quickly and the journey will be amazing!
About Chantal: I am an Albertan mom of three girls and I love exploring local cities and hidden gems in our unique province! I am a local stop for events, activities, tips and resources on creating fun family memories within road trip distance. I am always on the lookout for the next fun family outing but also want to create a forum for parents to share, support and learn from one another. Website: 3chicks1hen, Facebook: 3chicks1hen, Twitter @3chicks1hen