What Kindergarten Means to Me

What Kindergarten Means to Me

What Kindergarten Means to Me

All across the country, parents are preparing to send their kids back to school. And some, like me, are sending a child off to Kindergarten. For some, it’s a time to celebrate freedom. For others, it’s time to turn on the waterworks as they watch their babies grow up right in front of them.

This year, I’m sending my first off to Kindergarten. He did a year of preschool, so this isn’t new territory to us. But sending him off to public school has me in knots. I’m worried and relieved all at the same time.

Kindergarten means longer days away from me. I’m a control freak. I’ve loved having my babies under my thumb. I’ve loved knowing exactly what they’re doing and what they’re eating. I’ve had almost total control. They do, of course, have a very involved father with his own ideas, so I can’t have complete and total control over raising them. But, for five years, I was the one to structure his days, give him things to do and try, and foods to turn his nose up to. Now that he’ll be gone for six and a half hours five days a week…well, I’m having a hard time letting go of my control.

Kindergarten also means earlier starts to our days and nights. Preschool never started before 8:30am for him. We had relaxed mornings where he could sleep a little more if he’d had a bad night. We had plenty of time to figure out breakfast, and more than enough time to get in the car and head to school. But now he’ll be starting before 8am. He’ll have to get up earlier. Breakfast will be a little more rushed. I’m the kind of person where on time means late. Mornings will be riddled with anxiety for me, and I’m afraid my family will be getting the brunt of it. Nights will also be starting earlier. We’ve gotten used to bedtime between 8:30 and 9pm. Perhaps that’s late to many, but my kids have a bad habit of getting just enough sleep. If the sleep requirement was 12-14 hours, they never slept more than 12 hours. A late bedtime worked out well for us. It also meant they got plenty of play time with their dad at night. Now bedtime must be earlier so they can get up on time. Which means less play time with daddy. I may be glad for more time at night, but I’m going to miss my little pumpkins.

Kindergarten means uncertainty. As I mentioned, I’m a control freak. I had my son doing workbooks all summer. I had control over what he learned and what he practiced. Now a teacher I don’t even know yet will get that honor. I don’t know what that teacher will be teaching him and how. But, beyond learning, I worry about my strange little guy making friends. We can’t tell if he’ll be the teacher’s pet or the class clown. He thrives on being strange. While I hope he always retains that, I do hope he manages to make a friend or two. And let’s not even go into bullying right now. It’s happening at younger and younger ages. But I’ll be in tears if I ever learn  my sweet little boy is a bully. I’m raising him to be better than that. I hope. And then there’s also the fear of school shootings. When I was a kid, it wasn’t even a thing. It didn’t happen. Now? It could happen anywhere, anytime. I’m scared.

But Kindergarten also means freedom. This kid will talk nonstop if it pleases him. Some days I feel like he’s about to talk my ears off. Half of the time he doesn’t even make sense. Words just fall out of his mouth and even he doesn’t know where it’s going. It’s funny, but so confusing. I’ll be glad for some peace. He’s a very demanding child, one not accustomed to not having my attention. I’ll be glad for some breathing space from him.

Kindergarten means more flexibility for me. Preschool was just a couple or so hours. It was often hard to plan things between drop off, pick up, and naps. There were so many days where I wanted to do something, but couldn’t. Now, with him being in school for six and a half hours, there’s more time to do things, like take my daughter to the zoo because animals are so not his thing.

Kindergarten has it’s pluses and minuses. I’m looking forward to it and dreading it in equal amounts. I’m torn. I’m going to miss my little boy so much. He keeps asking me if I’ll miss him. It’s going to be quiet and lonely without him. Then again, it’ll also be blessedly quiet.

Oh, wait. I still have a second child. And she’s noisy. Is it too early to start counting down to when she starts Kindergarten in 3 years?



14 thoughts on “What Kindergarten Means to Me”

  • I go through these feelings every year. It’s aggravating being a control freak sometimes. My daughter is going into 3rd grade. Maybe by the time she’s 18 I’ll be ready for school to start, but by then I’ll have different issues for sure. 😄

    • That’s for sure! I want my kids to go to college, but the thought of completely letting go is scary. How do you manage year after year? I’m new at it, so I can use any advice!

      • Kate, I’m not really sure. My daughter had bullying issues through kindergarten (another girl was bullying her) and her kindergarten teacher was not supportive of solving it. She was forced into retirement halfway through the year. Since then, I think just having a good relationship with the principal and teacher are my biggest soothers (for lack of better word occurring to me). Making sure we talk about some things she should do helps me too (like talking to her teacher if someone is bullying her, following directions carefully for emergency drills-we do some at home too). It helped me knowing she was prepared for those harder things, though I wish we had discussed bullying sooner. I really thought we had more time before it would become an issue.

      • I’m so sorry to hear your daughter was bullied at such a young age. It’s happening earlier and earlier, and it’s so sad it’s happening at a time when kids are just starting school and maybe learning to be away from mom and dad. It’s something I’ve thought about, but, like you, thought there would be more time. Your suggestions are really good ones and I really appreciate them. Thank you, and I hope your family has a great school year.

  • I feel you, momma! Control freak or not, all the things you mentioned such as making friends, bullying or getting bullied, school shootings, all are legit worries. There are many many merits too which lend us to overcome our fears and let them go but the process will always be hard. Hugs and best wishes to you!!

  • It will definitely be a change but in the end I’m sure it will be a good one. My daughter’s birthday is after the cutoff to be enrolled in Kindergarten this year so I have her another year and will be teaching her at home, which is fine since I’m already homeschooling my oldest. I like having them home and knowing what they are learning and what is being said to them. I didn’t at my son’s last school and when I found out later I wanted to smack some people. However, we can’t protect them forever (I guess) so I’m also glad he had those experiences to prepare him how to handle worse situations in the future.. not that I want him to have worse situations!

    • It’s so tough knowing kids have to have bad experiences at young ages; it doesn’t seem right. My husband and I go back and forth about homeschooling because of it, but there’s also something to learn from them. I’m so sorry to hear your son didn’t have a good experience, but at least you can now ensure he, and your daughter, can learn what they need to.

      • There are good and bad experiences in any school. Even homeschooling 🙂 I’m glad my son when to traditional school for as long as he did. He had some great experiences.

  • I love this! I may write something like this if you don’t mind because my daughter is starting full day preschool this year. I’m sp nervous becuse I’m the same kind of parent like you. I’m always in control and love knowing what she’s doing or how she’s acting. Ugh. The struggles is real.

    • Yes, please do! I wish I had when my son went to preschool. It was so nerve wracking! It’s scary to let go, even a little. But I hope your daughter has a fantastic year!

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