Friday, August 26, 2016

What To Do When Your Child HATES Kindergarten

The Headlines:

I never thought this would happen.

My child doesn't like school.

Here's what I did. 

Three weeks ago my little boy started Kindergarten.  It was so exciting.  For everyone.  A new school for the whole family.  Both children were wearing uniforms for the first time.  I wrote about the day HERE .  What I didn't anticipate, however, was this follow up post.  In particular, I never dreamed my strong willed, extremely communicative, super friendly little boy would have any problems going to school.

Boy was I wrong.

It started innocently enough: the first day of school he wanted nothing to do with his uniform, the second day he mentioned in passing he wanted to go back to his old school (y' know, the cushy, sweet, sing-songy school where I could pick him up directly from his classroom 3 days a week).  The third day he mentioned he was super tired but by the fourth he was in full on break down mode.  Let me stress it again FULL BREAK DOWN MODE.

He was saying 50 times a day that HE HATED SCHOOL.  There was a lot of crying.  Lots of yelling, "I just want to stay home with you!" Whining.  Agonizing.  Then one day, I almost couldn't get him out of the car at drop off.  It was brutal.  This went on for a while... and all the while I was kind of in disbelief.  When I was a child, I loved school.  I couldn't get enough of it.  My daughter was the same way.  When she went to Kinder half day, she would ask me what the kids in full day were doing every 10 minutes after we got home.

This was the opposite - it was stunning and somewhat paralyzing.

I scrambled to get play dates lined up.  I added special treats to his lunch.  There was lots of hugging. I even said we could switch to half day if that's what he really wanted.  He went to bed early.  But none of that seemed to work.  All the while, my husband was out of the country - this was a mine to figure out.

So here's what did.  I lied.

I wrote his teacher informing her of the problem and she wrote back something along the lines of: "don't worry... this is natural!"  But it wasn't natural - not from where I come from.  She also said: "he does ask me several times a day if it's time to go home."  Not surprising.  But in that same email she offered some encouraging words:  she said, "Hudson did very well in class today.  He offers answers to questions and was engaged in all of our subjects."  So I decided that was something my son needed to hear.  I read him the email.  And then I embellished it a bit.  I added "please tell Hudson he's very important to the class, we need him here, it wouldn't be the same without him."  He listened and we went to bed.  It wasn't all that earth shattering at the time.

The next morning he woke up,  he was unhappy to be awake but the morning was rather un-eventful.  He only said he didn't want to go to school like 5 times.  Which for us, at this point, was big.   It didn't become apparent that my lie worked until we were driving in the car that morning.  I mentioned school and my son replied, "well the teacher needs me so I gotta go."

And that was that.

No more tears.  No more arguments.  A little bit of whining.  But he's going and he's not complaining about it.  In fact, I think he may even cop to liking it a bit.  Well, almost.  We're getting close to that at least.  He certainly enjoys the facts he's learning.  "Mom, did you know ground hogs hold their breath for 6 minutes when they're hibernating?" Ah... no!

No question Kindergarten is an adjustment for kids.  And parents.  Kids may love it, they could hate it but it's your job to get them there.  By whatever means possible.  My son still doesn't like the uniforms, waking up early or having such a long day.  But he's going.  And, bonus, he feels needed (and wanted) there.  Usually, I'm not a fan of lying.  But in this case... it was just the teacher ordered!

Monday, August 8, 2016

First Day of Kindergarten

The Headlines:

As a Mom there is lots to look forward to...

and a few things to dread.  

Which one is this?

Ironically, sometimes the things you look forward to - are the same things you dread.  You know what I mean?  Think about it... there's actually a lot of irony in motherhood.  It starts the moment those beautiful bundles are born.

A Mother gives birth and the baby you wanted so badly to hear is making you crazy with their cry! A Mom stops breastfeeding but yearns for closeness.  Toddlers begin to walk and all they do is get into everything.  They start to sleep through the night but the Mother wakes up just to make sure their baby is breathing.  Parents want kids to read but miss telling bedtime stories (still do it)!  Mom has a personal side kick for years but starting one August they leave for most of the day.

This is where we're at in our house.

Today was the first day my little boy went to Kindergarten.  We were all ready for it.  He was climbing up the walls during these last 2 weeks of Summer.  I was on the roof thinking about jumping off.  But then, the night before the day came,  I looked back on that day and every day since he was born and all I could remember was perfection.  That loving, sweet and angelic baby is now going to school and leaving me behind in my misery and loneliness (never mind I have a million things to do which I've been putting off for about 8 weeks - even though my husband's not sure that I do anything at all each and every day)!  None of that matters now.  He's starting school.

And the rest of his life.  It's lightening speed from here Mommy.

I will also warn you if it's your last or first child going to Kinder, there's a huge difference.

My daughter first left for school five long years ago (and though I love her just the same) I was practically pushing her out because I had this incredibly needy baby at home that I had to take care of... there weren't many tears back then.  Just relief.  But your last child starting their long "academic journey" is different.  Because life for you, on so many levels changes too.  No longer will you be going to Target with your little one on a Tuesday morning at 10:00.  You will do that all alone now.  You will have more time to think about what's for dinner.  You'll be able to walk into a gym.  You can even start a new career.  Well, hopefully.  If you want.  I wrote about that a few months ago HERE.  But see, that's the point.  Today, you, as a Mother now have a few more choices.  Choices you didn't have yesterday.  And while in this moment you may long for last week... tomorrow is full of new and exciting possibilities.

After all, there are many more Motherhood ironies that lie ahead.  My children will still drive me crazy as they follow me around the house until they want nothing to do with me.  I will continue to be annoyed that I'm a personal taxi until they turn 16 and I can't protect them anymore.  They will want to eat dinner with their friends until one day they'll ask to come home and eat with you.  We'll want them to find someone to love... until they actually get married.  I wrote about that HERE a few years ago (being replaced someday will KILL me)!  I may even say I need grand kids... but I won't want to be a "grandmother"!  It's all very ironic.

So cry a little now.  Then wipe those tears and start living Mama.  Life has changed forever and there's no going back.  That baby is in the big leagues now and he can't wait for what lies in front of him.  And inside, some where, maybe deep down... neither can you.

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