I remember when the babes were teeny tiny and we were all getting used to the life with a new born. Just when you think you have this whole mom thing down; the schedule, feeding, sleeping, they go a change it on ya. They’d grow and learn new things, sleep longer, eat more, cry and throw fits. Then the life with a toddler- well lets just skip on over that one! Preschool and then having a “School-ager”. That stage just snuck up on me like a 5 year old pretending to be a ninja… Where the heck did the time go?
The school year is coming to an end and with it our first year with a “school-ager” is in the books. Changes, stages, transitions in parenting. Its all been a crazy ride but I do have to say, this was the biggest transition for our entire family. I remember stressing about where he was going to go to school, how we were going to juggle getting him to and from, and oh my gosh no naps! NO NAPS! Yes my five year old still napped. Having one child at home and another in school- they were never apart before that. What would we do without him? We got a lot of advice in the months before hand and now that hubs and I have been there done that, heres what we’ve learned in our first year with a school-ager.
Lunches: They have to be able to open and eat the food you pack all on their own. So you pin a bunch of meal ideas on Pinterest, buy some cute containers and a lunch box. You meal plan the weeks out and get to making some cute lunches. Maybe you even cut them into cute shapes, write notes and stick it in the lunch box.
The real deal is you get tired of making lunches, your kids get like 20 minutes to eat and never finish what you pack because they decide chatting with their friends is way more fun. You will start tossing whatever it is you think they will eat in the lunch box and call it a day. Then when school is out, they get home and raid the pantry before you are even done unloading the car.
No naps: We started weening naps out and even though he could go all day at preschool and daycare, he would still crash sometimes. We were told to hold off on after school activities until the school schedule was introduced. There was no way our little guy would have been able to do an activity those first few months. He’d get in the car after school and pass out before we were home- its only a 5 minute drive. Even though he was used to no nap days, he was not used to the amount of stimulation Kindergarten brought.
Homework: You think you are going to love it. Helping your little learn, having an activity to do together, watching them grasp the knowledge and understand it! Yeah no. No one likes homework, not your kids, and certainly not you. There will be a lot of it. Repetition is key right, so EVERY dang night even if the packet is done there will be things to do. Like generous re-reading of the same simple books, over and over. There will be fits, from your kids and maybe even your self. Time outs given, both for them and you, wine drinking, or hiding in a corner until dad gets home to finish said work.
Good days and bad days: Kindergarten is more about learning how to learn and how to work with others than it is academics. Every kid has a different personality and ways in which they learn and express themselves. The first few months they learn boundaries and rules, whats expected of them, and how to behave, all on top of the actual work they do. They might take a bit of time to open up to their new teacher and friends, they might test those boundaries and come home with a note about behavior. Sometimes staying up late or waking too early and messing their day up. Roll with it, teach them, learn what works for them, and maybe put them to bed earlier than the night before.
Some of that may be a little dramatic or exaggerated, but all to point out- don’t stress or take it too serious. Just like any other stage of parenting theres a learning curve and if you blink it will fly by. Give yourself and your babes some grace. Maybe even let them skip a day just because.
What are some tips you have for transitioning to school age?