How to survive sending your oldest to Kindergarten ((part 3))

Sending my oldest to Kindergarten has felt like starting a new job.  You walk in the door and don’t know how it all works. You think you know how to do the job, but learning what other people do and how it all fits together is part of the hard work it takes to get adjusted.  You can’t walk in on the first day and know how to function; no one can.

It was bumpy to start off with, and I felt like I made mistakes.  I definitely got confused, mis-read one of the 25 papers, aNF just didn’t see the blurb in the newsletter that would have answered my question. I missed the chance to have thanksgiving lunch in the cafeteria in one blurb tucked away inside a newsletter.  I nearly mixed up the time of their Halloween parade because the main calendar had a different start time.  I couldn’t attend nearly any functions because younger siblings were not allowed. But as I learned, as I went through it once, it became easier.

I am still struggling to learn how everything works, aNF that is okay.  I don’t expect myself to drop the ball, but sometimes I do.  Which brings me to point number six…

6. You will make mistakes too. 

You are only human.  Give yourself grace.  you will get it right the next time around.  When in doubt, always always just ask.  Don’t listen to the voices that say you are becoming obnoxious or a nuisance.  You’re learning, and that takes trial and error!

7. I use a paper calendar.

One way that I have tried to beat the confusion over all the different events, items to send in, & what they need to wear is to write it down when I read it the first time.  The notes home in the folder are numerous, but I try to save them to double check.  I use the weekly pages to write down what to bring on the day it is due to remind myself of what’s needed.  It has worked well- if I can manage to read through all the right papers! Haha.

The other way to learn what’s going on when you’re a first time parent is to ask another parent or two!  It may be that some of them have been on the wild kindergarten ride before.  Which brings me to point number 8…

8. If you can, take time to meet other parents. 

I volunteered every week & this helped me get to know one or two other parents in the class, rather than just a few minutes before or after school.  (It also helped me get a feel for his class, become a familiar face to the staff, and helped ease his anxiety at the beginning of the year.)

It can be to helpful to ask a someone else what their experience is or was like.  Lucky for me, I had a good friend with a daughter in another kindergarten class, so we could talk about what class was like and compare our experiences. But, she was a first timer too!  So sometimes, we muddled through together.  Having someone you can talk to that understands bring such comfort, no matter what the situation.  It can either help you feel confident in the newness of of it all, or it can help you figure out that it shouldn’t be like what you’re experiencing!


I hope these three tips have been encouraging!! They are meant to be. I’ll finish up with my last two in the final post…

Ways to survive sending your oldest to Kindergarten ((part 4))

In case you missed it

Ways to survive sending your oldest to Kindergarten ((part 1))

Ways to survive sending your oldest to Kindergarten ((part 2))




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Ways to survive sending your oldest to Kindergarten ((part 2))

Ok, I’m jumping in with number three.

3. You need to give your child room to make mistakes. 

Our son came home from school the first few weeks with note after note after note from his teacher.  He did this; he forgot that; he played too rough; he colored someone else’s paper; he climbed up the slide; and on… We were exhausted. 

The truth?  He was doing just fine.  He was adjusting, but we jumped all over him.  I was thinking he needed consequences at home for getting in trouble at school. (One day we will reinstate that rule).  We were too hard on him, but we did not know better. The notes were a level zErin infraction; none of them turned out to be anything other than informative.  I thought a note home was a ‘big deal’.  As a high school teacher, I never wrote them!! Haha.

We finally realized that we needed to back off, and it helped.  He was learning the rules, and it took some repetition.  He made the same mistakes over&over, but sometimes that is what it takes.  He needed the room to make mistakes.  And he needed us to tell him it was ok, and he could do it!!

As a parent, I learned I needed to encourage him to boost his self-efficacy; he struggled to regain his confidence when he messed up.  He didn’t need extra punishment to learn the lesson.

4. I needed to ask the teacher questions. 

I thought the best communication method with my son’s teacher was the ‘note’ system in his daily folder.  I was wrong.  I had so many questions when he would get the notes home, but I didn’t know how to ask respectfully or what channel I could use to receive a response.  I waited for a response in the ‘note’ folder more than one time. As time went on, I finally realized: send her an email. 

I have no idea why it took me so long to think of emailing her, but it did.  I tride waiting after school to try to ask in person; I tried calling after school and the phones weren’t working (that happened to me as a teacher too).  And then when I finally realized I could just email her and ask my simple questions, it was so freeing.  I didn’t have to worry or wonder, I could just ask.  I wish I would have figured out how to ask my questions sooner. I think it would have saved me some headaches & heartaches.

5. Ask for a conference if you want one. 

Do you just need to address your concerns, have more than just one or two questions, or are worried about your child’s progress?  Ask for a conference.  Make the time for it- we should have probably in the fall semester. But I felt like I couldn’t because I had blundered my way through the series of notes home & misunderstandings.  I was worried I had already made myself obnoxious to the teacher, and I didn’t want to be ‘that parent’.  This is all nonsense.  I should have just asked for a conference when I started to get confused and worried.  Maybe it would have saved us some trouble!

Our school doesn’t set conferences if you don’t request them.  We requated one to finish the year out, just to hear how our son had done.  It was lovely.  She told us his strengths and weaknesses.  She gave us tips on what we can do over summer break to help him start off sting in the fall.  She told us funny stories about him in class.  That conference had no bad blood, no major issues to discuss, and was absolutely the kind I needed.  I needed the positive feedback about him, I needed to feel more confident about talking to her, and I got both.

End of the year conferences are now a thing.  I plan to ask for them every year from now on.

More to come…  It is always easier to learn from one another.

How to survive sending your oldest to Kindergarten ((part 3))



Ways to survive sending your oldest to Kindergarten ((part 1))

Does this title sound extreme?  I’d like to tell you that I would have thought so.  Our sweet five-year-old oldest loved his preschool & begged to begin Kindergarten as soon as he finished Pre-K.  He didn’t even want to have Summer break.

When our boy actually DID start school, he was like a fish out of water, and so were we.   Which brings me to point number one…

1. It will take time to become comfortable and confident in your surroundings. 

It may sound overly simplistic, but believe me, as a former teacher, I did not anticipate elementary school to be intimidating.  It is.  For my child & for me it was.  I now think of being an elementary school parent as a new job (I’m sure the job criteria will change as they progress).  It takes time to meet all the people, to learn their names, to learn where everything is, and to understand all the expectations.  Also, the calendar of the school year is FULL of different activities and programs.  Going through it once really helps to help you become accustomed.  Even for parents who only have one child, many of the annual programs function in the same way each year.  Give yourself a chance to learn how it works & help your child learn too. You will both feel more confident. Be brave!!  

2. Try to have realistic expectations of your child’s teacher. 

My son’s poor teacher.  I really expected her to help him love school.  I can hear you chuckle now, but hear me out.  If a child can feel confident and happy at school, then it helps them feel like that can succeed.  It’s called self-efficacy.  A teacher can make an incredible change in a child’s self-efficacy for school. I researched it in middle school students while doing my honors thesis project in Educational Psychology at Clemson University… BUT seriously… Kids being happy in elementary school seemed like a reasonable guess of how things would go.  I would like to add that she didn’t try to knock down his confidence, but rather I just didn’t see her help boost it when she could.

It didn’t happen how I supposed, but my son has truly come to love school, love his teachers, and feel secure in his environments.  It took time: he felt better when he knew all his classmates names.  He felt better when he understood all the rules at school & that took a long time (again longer than I anticipated – at least two months!).  He felt better when he knew his way around the school.  He felt better when his relationship with his teacher cemented, and we could tell it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these first two ways to survive!  More to come…

Ways to survive sending your oldest to Kindergarten ((part 2))



How I survived sending my oldest to Kindergarten

Y’all- my oldest is just finishing his Kindergarten year, and it has been hard.  I did not anticipate that we would struggle, I mean wrestle and fight, to keep our joy.

My husband has been amazing during this year, and I’m so thankful to have him by my side.  But this type-A, control freak, former high school teacher had a hard time not being in charge.

I had to learn to find my voice as a parent, so that I could speak appropriately and with grace about my concerns.  I had to experiment with how I could impact my son’s experience in a positive way, and help him feel more confident.  And the hardest: I had to learn how to trust someone else with my child.

My top ways to survive Kindergarten as a parent!

Ways to survive sending your oldest to Kindergarten ((part 1))

Ways to survive sending your oldest to Kindergarten ((part 2))

How to survive sending your oldest to Kindergarten ((part 3))

Ways to survive sending your oldest to Kindergarten ((part 4))

Happy Friday 🙂