Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Q&A Wednesday - Kindergarten Mom Concerns

Yesterday, Carrie asked, "Does Ryan ride the bus to/from school? Or do you take him? My Evan started Kindergarten and insisted he wanted to ride the bus each day. So, we let him. He seems fine, but I notice he occasionally seems sad if he doesn't get to sit by a certain friend. I don't know why I'm having panic attacks about this! But I'm worried about it. I don't want anything to crush his little spirit! He's a shy kid anyway and a young 5. Do you think it's a first time Kindergarten mom thing? I've tried talking to him about it...sometimes you'll get to sit with who you want, sometimes you won't. I guess I'm concerned that academically he's ready for all of this, but I'm super sensitive with the social aspect of it. Okay...tell me I'm over dramatizing this!"

First, I have to share with you that I was always young for my grade (my August 19th birthday barely allowed me to turn six before 1st grade) and I was not socially traumatized. I do remember having many friends who were in the grade below me, especially in elementary school. I naturally gravitated toward neighbors who were a year younger in school and even remember being friends with a few of my classmate's younger siblings. Evan may not have that same tendency, but I just thought it was worth mentioning.

As for Ryan, yes, he does ride the bus. He begged me on the first day of Kindergarten to begin riding home the next day, which surprised me. We lucked out last year because our school requires that Kindergartners sit in the first two rows of the bus and have the same assigned seats every day. So there was never "who will I sit by" drama. He's already riding the bus three days into this school year and knows so many of the kids from last year that he doesn't care where he sits.

To answer your last question bluntly, YES - I do think this is a first time Kindergarten mom thing. Kicking your baby out of the nest and hoping they fly is not easy! If you work on building up his confidence at home, especially if he's naturally shy, and give him social guidance for when he's away from you ("If no one asks you to play at recess, try asking another boy if he wants to play kickball,") I'm sure things will mellow out soon enough. For both of you!

Personally, I think you're doing just fine. Spend lots of time talking to him about the high and low points of his day and offer suggestions about how to handle the tough situations. He'll learn soon enough that he can't always get his way. Teachers and kids at school don't accommodate personal preferences like we do at home!

It took a few months for Ryan's class to work out it's social kinks last year, but by the holidays, everyone knew everyone and Ryan found new kids to sit by and play with when his moody "best friend" decided to have a mean day.

It's hard for us, especially moms, to watch our kids struggle. But the thing that I've realized lately is this: if I step in too often or too quickly, I may rob Ryan and Kaylin of an opportunity to strengthen their character. If you think about it, most of the obstacles we faced as children probably shaped us into the people we are today.

Just breathe. And pray. Pray for wisdom and guidance in how to parent your little Kindergartener, then make every attempt to let go of things that are completely beyond your control.

Anyone else have any advice for Carrie???
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RMOMROX said...

I think Katie's advice is perfect!

It's very hard when our children leave the nest for the first time and spend a good portion of their day in the company of others. Especially when we feel like we can't protect them from anything and everything that may upset them.

The hardest thing is letting them grow up and figure things out for themselves. I agree with you Katie on all points, especially on letting our children build their own character. They have to learn how to figure things out for themselves to a certain degree and need to work on controlling their feelings, behavior, and emotions during different situations. It helps them become better people and problem solvers.

I don't think there is anything wrong with how Carrie is feeling. I would bet that every mom has had those feelings with their child/children at some point. And as a mom of 4, it gets so much easier with each one. I believe it is simply because I knew what to expect because I had already been down that road before.

Great advice Katie! and Best wishes Carrie to you and Evan! I just know you will both do great!

Mom said...

Yes, one more thing you did that helped settle Ryan in on the bus last year on the bus. It was the walking-home "buddy" you arranged for him, an upper classman that just kept an eye out, and Ryan knew he wasn't in it all by himself. I think the buddy system helped give Ryan the confidence he needed, at least for the first few months.


HeathahLee said...

I think you summed it up quite nicely!

Kendra said...

You are right on the money, Katie. It IS tough to send our little ones to school, especially the first ones! I still have a hard time watching my "babies" get on the big ol' bus and know they will have to manuever through their whole day without me. I think its hard for us to let go because we've been helping them get through almost every part of their day up until this point. But, like other's have said, its good for us and them to let go. I think figuring out the social aspect of school is almost harder than the acedemic, but its also going to set them up for success later in life too. Definitely talking to your child about how to deal with situations and encouraging him to be outgoing is super helpful.

Some reassurance for you, in some aspects it gets easier as your child gets older. Sure there are different issues to deal with, but after they've been going to school & riding the bus with the same kids for a year or so, it's easier!

Tracey said...

I don't have any advice as I am not in that boat of sending my kiddo off to kindergarten...yet. But I do have a question that maybe you can answer on one of your Q&A Wednesdays.
I have often read in your blog that you use the "time-out" method of discipline. I wonder what you and Mike think about spanking? As a Christian we know that the Bible tells us: "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him." Proverbs 22:15. I, myself, have never spanked my kids, nor do I ever think that I can bring myself to do so. My husband, on the other hand (although having never spanked them yet) believes it is something that we should do (in the right context and NEVER out of anger). Just curious as to your thoughts on the subject.

Carrie said...

I LOVE you, Katie! Thank you. Sigh....feeling relief!

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