In a few days, my four-year-old will be headed to transitional kindergarten. He’ll face new friends, new teachers, a new schedule and a new campus. It’s a bit daunting—for both parent and kid.
Thankfully we can do a lot to transition our kids into kindergarten. From changing our daily habits to preparing them for what to expect, we can show that kindergarten can be an exciting and seamless transition. My kiddo has already experienced a school setting with preschool, but these tips apply to both those who’ve been in preschool and those who haven’t.
“And this here is our computer area,” the preschool director showed her tour group. “Here’s where they learn how to use the computer, using learning apps and games.” Four computers lined the wall with kids toying with mice and teachers guiding them through their letters and numbers. From the director’s tone of voice, I assumed I was supposed to be impressed, except… I wasn’t.
You see, I think computer use has no purpose in a preschool. I don’t even think it’s necessary in any classroom, not until you get into middle school at the earliest.
That’s right—no computers until you’re 10 years old.
Seems preposterous in these modern times, more so coming from someone who sits in front of a computer all day for her living (and then more hours in the evening on her blog).
What’s the deal, then? When every kid, from infancy through elementary school, seems to have already grabbed hold of his parents’ smart phone and iPad, why do I keep these gadgets far away from my own?
For some of our kids, August and September means not only the start of a new school year, but the start of a newschool: kindergarten.
Kids vary in how they anticipate kindergarten. Some can’t wait to attend his new school and is just about done with preschool. Others might face kindergarten with trepidation, wary of its newness: faces, routines, buildings.
Deep down though, I think all kids feel a jumble of emotions about kindergarten, no matter how much they appear to lean towards one. A child could be so excited for school but may still harbor some hesitation as well.
It’s all normal. Thankfully we can turn to our trusty friends on the shelves to see just how widely these kindergarten experiences vary. From clinging to the door because they don’t want to leave the house to realizing that teachers are also just as nervous as them, the characters in these pages remind kids that they’re not alone when it comes to kindergarten:
There’s one glaring fact that set me apart from my family: I didn’t let my kids eat sweets. They had no first-year birthday smash cakes or Christmas cookies. It took years before my eldest had his first taste of candy. I’m more lenient now with the twins, but not too much. Coming from a family where we’ve had dinners with two main courses and five desserts, this was nearly sacrilege. And sometimes, I felt it.
“Don’t you feel bad for him though?” Someone might say as we’re all eating cake except for my then-two-year-old. “Everyone’s eating cake except him.”
I even heard someone say, “That’s so sad. I would hate to grow up without having tasted any sweets.” Ouch. As if not giving a two-year-old sweets meant a lifetime without it.
Fast forward to today: My now-four-year-old has eaten his fair share of cakes thanks to birthday parties. He’s had the occasional candy during Halloween and Valentine’s Day, and he’ll chomp on a cookie his classmates brought for a birthday celebration.
My twins have yet to do this, and I’m in no rush. I’m also less inclined to put up with people’s criticism of how my husband and I run our home, or the values we hold. I love my family and friends (we’re like the Big Fat Greek family minus the Greek part), but back then, I’d get annoyed. Either way, I now don’t let those comments bother me.
Sweets is just one topic too. Other factors that set us apart: Read more →
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You have no idea how they do it. Their kids are reading notches above grade level, don’t put up a fight with worksheets, and they’re driven with curiosity and asking questions. And their kids like learning.
This isn’t the work of a Tiger Mom. Nor are their kids gifted. So how do they do it? How do parents encourage rigorous learning in their kids?
I wanted the answers to these questions myself. While I have no intention of pushing my kids to the brink of stress and madness, I also believe parents sometimes shortchange their kids’ potential. I knew it was possible for kids to read before entering school, that it wasn’t too early to introduce philosophical concepts, and that kids are capable of so much more than adults give them credit for.
I wanted to encourage my kids to learn their full potential, without pushing or killing the love of learning.
Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Laura Markham
It's been a while since a parenting book lit a light bulb above my head, but this book did just that. The main takeaway? We have punishment and discipline all wrong. Instead we need to connect with our kids, such as when we pick them up from school, or when they're throwing a tantrum.
I've since applied a ton of parenting advice from this book and there's a noticeable change in my kids. Discipline isn't usually a long, drawn-out epic event between angry people but one that's more supportive and problem solving.