Two weeks to go… yikes!
He learnt how to crawl, you blinked, and now he’s about to start school. To say you’re feeling overwhelmed would be a little bit of an understatement. Maybe more than a little bit.
Hold his hand – before, during, and after.
While we enjoy back-to-school as much as any non-teacher, we’re still in denial over here. We’ve got a nice park/bike/froyo groove going, and we’ll all be a little sad to see it end. One thing we won’t miss? The mess. With the kids outta the house for even a few hours a day, there’ll be a lot less dishes, crumbs, and sand dirtying up the place… thank goodness because our chore chart can’t keep up!
While we’re not rushing to think about school just yet, it seems some of you are feeling a little more antsy. Fear not! We’ve also got a four year-old starting Junior Kindergarten in September, and since we lived it with our seven year-old three years ago, we’ve got a few tips:
- You’re still ignoring the hype, right? Awesome! If you’ve been told what to bring for day one, pack that and nothing else. Our JK bound kiddo is taking a backpack with a change of clothes and a snack (no lunch because our Kindergarten is still only half-day… so much for political promises). He’ll probably need indoor shoes at some point. We’ll figure it out when we get there.
- Read a book or two together so he knows what to expect. We have tons of faves so contact us if you want a recco. We also sticker up the calendar and I’ll casually mention how close it’s getting every day or three. Keep the prepping light though – nothing makes a kid more anxious than an anxious parent, and those munchkins see right through forced enthusiasm.
- Finesse how your actual goodbye will go down. If you’ve been reading for a while now… thank you! You might remember this post where we shared our go-to book for sep prep: The Kissing Hand. We’ve been doing it for so long now that even our baby holds her hands up when anyone says goodbye. Super cute but also super handy when we leave her with a sitter!
- Practice what some first-day conversations might sound like so your little guy knows how to respond and interact with teachers and future friends. This is important if he’s been at home with you, but you never know what might throw him off even if he’s a daycare pro. When Ernie started school many, many moons ago, he had no idea the teacher was calling his name when she repeatedly said ‘Ernest’ while taking attendance. He felt like a pretty dull knife and was labeled a troublemaker by his teacher who thought he was misbehaving on purpose. Not cool.
- Brush up on bathroom independence. Our boys both like Potty Animals, which naturally leads to talks about some of their less than stellar hygiene habits. We’re working on our JK starter’s wiping abilities (and keeping fingers crossed he won’t need to “go” at school for now).
- Re-set those internal body clocks. We’re going to bed a little later than usual, which means we’re sleeping in a little later than usual. All good things must come to an end. I like to gradually shift bedtime fifteen minutes earlier every other night, which means I have to start a week before that one last sleep if we have to move it up an hour. Early to bed, early to rise… sigh.
- Do a trial-run a day before. This means hustling to get dressed, eat breakfast (or, if you’re in the same afternoon JK boat as us, lunch), go to the bathroom, and walk/bike/wagon to school before the bell rings. If the bell were to ring, if it wasn’t the day BEFORE the first day of school. Yup, I know this one’s a little intense. But until you’ve gone through the motions with one eye on the clock, you can’t be sure how long it’ll take him to finish his milk/at least try even if he doesn’t have to pee/say goodbye to the dog, his favourite stuffed animal, and his toothbrush. Figuring out exactly how much MORE time you need will help on the big day. You’ll still be nervous, anxious, excited, and stressed, but at least you won’t be late. Or, at least, not as late.
- Pack your own bag the night before too, so that when the train’s derailing despite your best intentions (because, ya know, they never have to poo at the last minute when it’s a trial-run) you won’t rush out the door and forget the camera. Or the tissues.
- Plan something fun for yourself immediately following drop-off… you deserve it!
When our oldest started JK, we made scrambled eggs so he’d have a lot of energy. Unfortunately he burnt his finger helping me make them, which set us up for tears a-plenty when we said goodbye. He missed the first day of Senior Kindergarten because he was in the hospital with pneumonia… no fun. Last year went off without a hitch, but I wasn’t there to see it. I’m optimistic that with him starting Grade Two in a couple of weeks, I’ll finally get that picture-perfect first day. I’m also optimistic that our middle child will start JK without any tears – there are no eggs on the menu.
Even if you won’t usually do the school run, his first day is one you won’t want to miss. If it doesn’t go according to plan, so be it. You’ll have another first day next year, and the year after that, and the year after that. But it won’t be long before he’s running off to play in the schoolyard instead of holding your hand, so now’s the time to enjoy those sweet cuddles… while he’ll still let you.
Email us if you don’t have a week to re-set his body clock – we’ve also got a shortcut!