Enrolling your little child in kindergarten is a difficult thing to do for a father. For the children, they are going to be out of your sight and basically be placed in the charge of a stranger. We can no longer be their protector 24 hours a day. They are probably used to listening to only their parents, but now they are going to have to start paying attention to all adults they encounter. As a parent, sending your kid off to the first day of kindergarten can be heartbreaking. Your child is growing up and changing. They can’t stay toddlers forever, even though we wish they could.
As tough as it is, I hope that it will give you peace of mind that we all go through this. And if it is your very first child, then you might want to be prepared to shed a tear or two. Below are four things you should remember during your child’s first year at school.
You Can Still Visit
It is not like you can’t see your child between 8am and 4pm every day. Kindergarten teachers always like to have the parents come in and do a lesson or two with the kids. Just be sure to arrange visits to the classroom throughout the year, and at the same time, lend a hand to the teacher. Go there with a purpose and fulfill that purpose.
It’s Good for Them
Eventually, everything changes and children seem to start maturing and become adults over night. Being able to introduce school to them without freaking them out is a huge bonus. You would much rather have a child that loves school instead of a kid that hates it. Their enjoyment of education could lead to a hugely successful career in the field they choose.
If you talk about school in front of them and do not act like it is a huge deal, you are doing them a disservice. If you are not excited about it, neither will they be. And the child that hated school could continue on through life until they become the grown adult living in your basement. This is something that nobody wants to happen, so schooling is essential for their growth.
It’s Not Like Your Kindergarten Days
I can still remember a lot of my year in kindergarten. The teacher asked if any of us knew how to count to ten. Half the class raised their hand. I was not one of them. I was already thinking I was behind the eight ball. Then one little girl said aloud, “I can count to ten in English and Spanish.” Of course, she had to demonstrate it for the class. At the time, the only thing I could think of was, “What’s Spanish?” Luckily, the girl moved away a couple weeks later and I felt less stupid because of it.
I went through my year of kindergarten learning very little, but so did the rest of the class. I knew my colors pretty well. I knew when the teacher turned off the light that it was nap time so I better grab my blanket and find a nice place to catch some rest. I learned how to read the clock a bit, too. I could figure out it was 10 a.m. because that was the time we would have our graham crackers and chocolate milk. The best part about my kindergarten days was that it was only half a day long. I would arrive there at the school at 8 a.m. and leave at 11:30 a.m. It was the perfect length of time.
I have been an elementary school teacher for quite a while now. Kindergarten is no longer like it was back when we were kids. They are expected to come in and know not just their letters, but how to read a bit. Plus, they are to wisely know how to add single-digit numbers. Nap time has been eliminated for many kindergarten classes across the country as well. In addition, all the kindergarten classes I know of nowadays are for a full day. There is no longer a half day that eases them into education. Today’s kindergarten is like yesteryear’s first grade. As a father, it is up to you to make sure your young child is prepared.
This blog is part of Fathers Incorporated‘s Drive To Five campaign. The campaign design seeks to reduce father absence by engaging dads at the early stages of their child’s development, which makes them more likely to continue their involvement through all of the stages of their development. For more information visit www.drivetofive.org