My Child Is Ready for School – But Am I?
Last week we hosted a parent webinar focused on school readiness and parenting tips and activities to help kids transition to school, and since then I’ve been thinking a lot about my children’s experiences in daycare and preschool. I’ve also been anxiously wondering if, in fact, I myself am ready for my first born to go off to school. Olivia (my 5 year old) is starting kindergarten in the fall. When she began at Bright Horizons as a toddler after being in home daycare for her first two years, I did not know what to expect. I can remember that I was looking forward to her being in a classroom with all children her own age and having a more formal education. But I wasn’t thinking at all about how the things she was learning every day and social interactions with her peers and teachers were stepping stones towards her eventual success in school.
And, honestly, I wasn’t paying too much attention to what was going on inside the classroom. Don’t misunderstand, I was interested in what she was doing – proudly hanging her art projects, listening to her excitedly talk about her friends and what she did during the day, collaborating with her teachers, etc. But I wasn’t connecting the dots that while she was singing silly songs in the toddler classroom her teachers were helping her learn to communicate and make connections that would eventually help her to speak in full sentences and later tell wildly imaginative stories.
As I sit here typing (and reflecting) I feel sad. I feel like I worked her years away. Always a bit too busy to be fully present on her journey from a shy toddler trying to find her voice to a confident, smart and independent little girl. When did this happen? And can I please turn back time? Deep down inside I know it’s exactly that time in child care that helped her to become the person she is today. But I still hold onto the working mom guilt like a well-worn blankie that you just can’t give up.
Am I absolutely sure that Olivia is ready for kindergarten? You betcha! Am I ready for this big step? Not at all! But at least I have six months to prepare for her transition and five years and six months before Owen makes this same transition. I better start prepping now. Any tips from “been there done that” moms and dads are much appreciated.