A myriad of emotions are experienced by children as they get ready to go to school on the first day. Excitement, joy, anticipation, hesitation, and fear, are some of the feelings that come to mind. Last year two of my grandchildren were going to kindergarten. They were up and dressed by 6:00 AM. They came downstairs fully dressed in the clothes that they had already chosen the night before. Their backpacks were filled with all of their supplies and their lunches already packed. My grandson had even added a tie for special affect, since it was such a special occasion! They were ready to head out the door; raring to go! No holding them back!
As a previous first grade teacher I have seen many other children come to school who were hesitant and fearful the first day. They had not met the teacher and did not know other students in the class, and that made them afraid. It is so beneficial to bring your child to school before the first day to meet the teacher at the Open House and have a chance to meet some of the other students in the class. That will make the first day much less intimidating, especially if you are a new student. For shy students it is helpful to give them opportunities to meet other kids in the neighborhood, so that there will be familiar faces that they will see at school. Still, for some shy, and more introverted kids, like myself, leaving mommy on that first day can be challenging and met with resistance. But, rest assurred that this phase will soon vanish and your child will cheerily be trouncing into school with his or her other classmates.
The first days of school are filled to the brim with activities for your child. The Baltimore Sun had a great article entitled- “Teachers Tell It” by Kit Waskom Pollard that made some great points about the start of the new school year.
- Routines save the day. There is a need to establish and maintain routines that work. Morning routines will get the day started correctly. Create a simple morning checklist to keep young kids on track. After school help kids create good habits by doing homework at the same time at the same place every day.
- Snooze or Lose. Expect your kid to be really exhausted just from being excited, anxious and starting a new school year. So get as much sleep as possible. It’s a big thing, getting a good night’s sleep and not being tired.
- Enough slacking, it’s time to get back to work. Students should be ready to hit the ground running.
- Paperwork stinks. Nobody likes it, but it is necessary for the school to be able to get in touch with you in case of an emergency.
- Get a life and good grades. There are many students who are academically ready for kindergarten, but school is about more than just books and numbers. Parents have to consider the social and emotional development of kids and how important that is, such as: being able to take turns, opening their own lunch boxes, and tying their shoes.
When the kids come home from school that first week, most parents are dying to find out what happened during their school day. From personal experience as a mother and a teacher there are a variety of responses. Generally if you have a very verbal child who likes to talk a lot (these children are usually girls) you will find out every detail about the school day. You will know the color of the teacher’s dress, the schedule of events, the names of the students, every activity done in class, that Johnny hit Susie, that Susie likes Johnny, that Evan is cute, that the teacher forgot to write the date on the board, etc. If you have a boy who likes actions more than words(that was my case), you will hear “nothing”. I would ask “What did you do at school today?” My son would reply, “Nothing.” Therefore, mothers of boys would often not know much about what happened during the day, unless they could figure it out from their son’s papers, or sometimes bits and pieces of the day might sneak out at bedtime.
Gee-whiz! That was the most difficult realization for me to cope with. I was a detail person. Here I was letting my precious babies go off to school, where they were gone for 7 hours of the day and I had no idea what they were doing, how they were behaving, how they were interacting with others, how they were learning. So, of course I became a volunteer and I became involved in the PTA, thinking that would help. I did learn a lot about what was going on in the school and enjoyed participating in the PTA. My volunteering was with students who needed help with reading, so I never worked with my sons, but I was able to wave to them as I read with students in the hallway. I loved my work with students. I also worked with the guidance counselor with a group of students. But, I never really got to find out what my sons did during the day.
Nevertheless, through all of my volunteering, my problem was not solved. My sons continued to come home with the same response of “nothing” about their school day and I was at a loss for the details. The Lord finally got me to a place where I had to accept the fact that was how life was going to be for me living in a household of all males. I was going to have to acknowledge that I was not going to get the “details” that I desired. I was going to have to trust the Lord to take care of my boys and learn to be content with not knowing all that had taken place during the day. It was more than just praying for the boys as they went to school everyday. This was a deeper layer of trust– this was actually putting them into God’s hands and knowing deep in my heart that He was going to take all that I had taught them and use it in school. It was knowing that He was going to open their minds to learn. It was knowing that He was going to help them develop the right kinds of relationships and help them discern what was the right and wrong thing to do.
Proverbs 3:5 states – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and He will make your paths straight.”
God’s word is so good and true. There are times in life when we have to let go of any pre-conceived notions that we have in our own mind, and just trust the Lord with all of our heart, soul, and mind. Our own understanding will get us no where, but down a path of self-pity, confusion, and discouragement. When we admit that we are not in charge, but that God is and put our trust in Him, He will take better care of our children than we can. For He is with them every moment of every day. He created them and He loves them with a love that we cannot even comprehend.
Here are some resources that you might find to be helpful.
This website has a plethora of organizers. You will need to scroll down to find a chart for a morning and evening routine for children. There are a lot of other charts you may want to use, as well.
May the Lord keep you in the palm of His hand,