It may seem like just yesterday that you brought your new baby home from the hospital, but five years have passed -- and now he's headed off to kindergarten. Starting school can be a challenge for parents and children alike, but you’re not alone. Use these tips from real moms to tackle the first day of kindergarten with confidence.
Many moms spend so much time preparing their children for school that they forget to prepare themselves for the rush of emotions surrounding this life transition. Give yourself some time to think about how you may respond when it's time to drop your child off, and come up with a game plan to make the transition easier.
Sandy Oliver from Fitchburg, Massachusetts, knew she might cry when dropping off her son for the first time, so she made plans that would distract her and lift her mood. "I applied lots of mascara before we headed to the school to remind myself not to tear up. Then, I gave myself 15 minutes to drop off my son and speak with the teacher before immediately leaving to meet my sister for coffee and pedicures. Giving myself something to look forward to was the perfect distraction to get me through that first day."
Melissa Daughtery came up with a similar plan. "I work full time, so I'm used to being away from my daughter during the day -- but it's still hard when I think of how fast she's growing up. I decided to take the first day of school off from work so I could really invest some time into both of us. I took my daughter out to breakfast, took her to school, then I went to the gym. After a great stress-relieving workout, I picked my daughter back up from school, and we spent the afternoon playing at a park. Spending that time with her helped me adjust to this new phase of life."
Prepare your child
Most kids take to kindergarten like fish to water, but the more you can mentally, physically and emotionally prepare your child for the transition, the easier it will be. Consider the following tips:
"Definitely attend the meet-and-greets hosted by your child's school or teacher. It made a world of difference to my kids when they got to meet their teacher before school even started. Also, if you can, tour the whole school to point out landmarks like the playground, lunchroom, library and bathrooms." -- Jessi Smithe, Fort Worth, Texas
"At least a week before school starts, get into a school routine. Lay out the next day's clothes, pack a backpack and sack lunch, wake up on schedule, etc. Having the routine down before school starts will help prevent any unexpected surprises on the big day." --Tamara Loomis, Portland, Oregon
"Make the first day of school an exciting production! The more excitement you build up, the more eager your child will be to experience it. Shop for school supplies and new school clothes, make a big family breakfast, take lots of pictures and keep emphasizing how nice the teacher and other kids will be. I know my twins couldn't wait to get to school that first day." -- Mary Gonzales, Indianapolis, Indiana
More ways to prepare your family
Making the transition to kindergarten is a major milestone in your child's life. There's so much to think about -- not only for your child, but also your whole family. Here are some insider tips on getting your family ready for kindergarten.