Two years ago, I wrote a letter to my daughter on her first day of Kindergarten. That two years has gone by in a blur, a blur in which she’s learned to read and write, ask questions and give answers, to lead and to follow, even when it drives her crazy.
She’s learned to tie her own shoes, ride the bus like a pro, eat things with strange names, play thousands of recess games, check out library books, remember homework and one million other things I could never have imagined possible when I brought that helpless little creature home from the hospital.
In those two years, I too have learned much. I’ve learned what it feels like to be the lonely mom on the playground, wondering who to talk to as you watch your 5 year-old line up for school. I’ve learned how to navigate the heartache of not being able to help your child through arguments at recess and the pressures of budding friendships. I’ve learned about the PTO, the bus system, late starts, school lunches, parent-teacher conferences, and the constant juggle that is managing after-school activities.
This year, as I watch my oldest daughter jump into second grade with confidence and excitment, I also watch my youngest full of nerves and anxiety, just as her sister was heading Kindergarten for the first time.
As her mom, I’m more confident in the logistics of elementary school, but I can’t help feeling nervous for her as she walks through those doors. Kindergarten is a transition any way you slice it, and if you have an incoming Kindergartener, your probably feeling nerves and anxiety for your child as well.
Sure, it’s going to be hard at times, but you’ll also be amazed at how much your kiddo learns and grows, and you’ll probably do some learning and growing yourself.
As my daughters head off to school together this year, I’ll repeat the same words I said to my oldest on her first day of Kindergarten, only with a few more for good measure:
- Be curious. Ask questions, even if you think they might be silly. If you are wondering about something, others may be too.
- Be confident. Raise your hand when you know an answer. Don’t be shy. Be proud and strong and if someone is doing something you know is wrong, don’t hesitate to call them out on it.
- Be kind. Not only to your fellow classmates, but to your teachers and the cafeteria workers and everyone you meet. Including yourself.
- Try hard. There will be days in kindergarten when you feel like giving up. When you feel stupid and when you don’t think you can figure it out. Keep trying.
- Be creative. Do it your way, even if it’s different than what everyone else is doing.
- Talk to me. If you’re scared or happy or don’t know what to do about something, I am always here to listen.
- Eat healthy food. And lots of it. You’ll need it for your brain to work. The days of snacking all day long are gone!
- Try to remember people’s names. It’s hard at first, but it’s important.
- Try new things. Yes foursquare may seem hard, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll love it. And I know Straw Hat is a weird name for a food, but you just might like it.
- HAVE FUN! And “send it!” as the kids says today. Oh, and NEVER, EVER shove anything up your nose.