Surviving the First Week of Kindergarten

We did it! We survived the first week of kindergarten! WHEW!

Ninjette talked a lot about being nervous and even had a meltdown about wearing uniforms over the weekend. On Sunday, I was a little nervous because Ninjette’s sleep has been off, I’ve never been so unprepared for the start of something, and frankly, I did not want Ninjette to go to kindergarten.

I have been desperately trying to stop time all summer, but somehow September still found me. I think my personal feelings about Ninjette starting kindergarten transferred to her because Ninjette frequently said to me, “Don’t worry, Mama. I will still love you even when I get older.”

Monday rolled around and there was definitely excitement in the air as we got dressed and started our walk to school. Our walk was filled with discussion about how nervous she felt and when I told her that I had felt nervous on my first day at school, she replied, “You were?! How long did it last? Did you get over it?” I think it gave her a little peace. She didn’t really want me to take a picture, but she allowed me to take this one and then she said I could take a picture when we got to school.

Ninjette put her brave face on and got in line for kindergarten. As soon as she started walking in, I kept waving to her until I couldn’t see her. Then, I cried. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting the emotion, but there it was. Thank goodness for sunglasses!

After walking home, I curled up in a ball in her room and just cried the rest of the morning. Just kidding. Sort of. I have to tell you that Monday was the longest day of my life. I don’t even know what happened that day, but I do remember a lot of pacing around and checking the time.

Pick up time finally came around and Ninjette’s sum up of the day was: “Well, it started out great and then… it stayed like that forever!” The walk home was filled with lots of questions about staying in the same class forever, when does school end, does she get to stay in class even during the winter, and so on. I take this all as a good sign. One of her main goals for kindergarten, though, is learning to read. The other day, she said, “I can’t believe that I can’t read!”

The rest of this week was filled with all sorts of interesting requests including a note in her lunch with pictures because she can’t read. I did a mix of words and pictures and I guess she tried to ask one of the other kindergartners how to read it and they couldn’t either, so she was going to ask the teacher to teach more reading.

Her beloved Bear Bear has been going to school with her every day, sitting in her backpack, and giving her boosts of bravery. There was a time where she wouldn’t go anywhere without her blankie, but now blankie stays home. Every day, she is growing up and evolving into this big kid. She sheds her younger ways little by little and it makes me sad. It also makes me excited for the new adventures we will have as she gets older.

So I leave you with my five tips for surviving the first week of kindergarten:

1. Schedule something awesome for yourself after drop off. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, but maybe it is a splurge on that special coffee drink on the way to work or back home. Maybe it’s a lunch with a good friend. Just something so you don’t wallow in the trauma by yourself!

2. Pick out the next day’s outfit and have things packed the night before. It creates a bit of excitement for the next day, but also helps to alleviate the craziness of the next morning. It also helps to settle into a nice routine.

3. Schedule something fun at the end of the week for the whole family. It’s a fun way to celebrate a milestone for the family. Also, if there were some tough times in the week, it will help to have something to look forward to.

4. Don’t over-schedule the first week or two. We did that on Monday and it was a disaster for Tuesday! Also, the whole family just needed time to readjust to the new schedule and clearly, Ninjette needed an extra hour of sleep and downtime every day this week.

5. Give lots of grace all around. It’s a new routine, new experience, new school – a lot of new things. Give yourself a lot of grace and to all those around you.

Congratulations to all my fellow kindergarten-starting friends! You did it! WE did it! Let the good times roll for the rest of the year!!!

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