Elizabeth started Junior Kindergarten this year. This is why we all are a bit overwhelmed and exited about that at the same time. It is a completely new Chapter for the entire family. All these new school challenges like breakfasts at home, school bus, lunch box, completely new language for Elizabeth became an important part of our lives since September 6, 2016.
Therefore, our Mornings are still not the best, but we are trying hard to adjust, to support and to comfort our girl in this new adventure. She cries in the school bus. I wave her and smile with the most supportive smile available in my own “smiles bank”. My heart compresses while I do that because I totally understand what our kid is currently going through. And my main idea is to be there nearby and help her to adapt as fast as possible to her new stage of life. Make it less stressful and more exiting.
I would like to share our main school challenges and solutions we found for them.
Evening before School:
Challenge: Going to bed.
We are trying to Bring Elizabeth upstairs around 8pm. Anything earlier then that doesn’t work so far. But my goal is to minus 5 minutes daily and come to a 7.30pm “upstairs time”. Upstairs we need to perform our evening routines. Shower/Bath, Teeth Brushing, Reading, Lights off.
- Start telling your child in advance that soon we need to go upstairs (or whenever his/hers bedroom is). Great technique is a color coded routine clock. I like this one shared by Mommy Moment. Visualization works best at this age. And kids love to follow hour hand.
- Prepare Bedtime Routine charts. I like and use these ones, shared by Miss Jen from I Heart Organizing. I’ve printed them out, laminated and taped to a wall. Attached dry erase marker to it. Elizabeth is able now to mark herself what is done and what follows. This is exiting for her!
- Prepare book to be read in advance. Start talking about it while your child is having bathroom routine time. Kids will gain more interest toward it.
For the last few days we are playing simple board games before going to bed. One game and then lights off.
- After lights are off we talk for a few minutes about what happened today and about the school. We mention all the good things of ours “today” and that tomorrow will be another great day.
Morning before school.
Challenge #1: Waking up.
Sure thing, in order to wake up on time and in the good mood you need to go to bed on time. If that was done, you almost did it. But, in the morning kid may decide that he/she doesn’t want to school and want to stay in bed. Here we need a super power to motivate him/her.
- Go to sleep on time evening before
- Let the day light into the room. During the working week our window blinds are always open. It really helps to wake up.
- Wake up your kid gently. Kisses, nice words help. Tell you kid about what is waiting for him/her after waking up. Remind about the cool lunch you packed together day before. About cloth that is awaiting to be worn (works with girls).
- Introduce a bit of play in the wake up process. For example, “blanket alive” telling that it’s time to wake up and brush the teeth or hand toy that will wake your kid. Just be creative. It takes some time for them to adjust to new rhythm of life. Help it to be less stressful.
Challenge #2: Brushing the Teeth.
It is a challenge till becomes a routine.
- Morning Routines Chart helps a lot! Tooth Brushing is number one in the list and Elizabeth really wants to cross it out. Tip with Chars is that you may change designs as soon as you see that your child is not exited about it anymore. Tons of designs can be found online.
Challenge #3: Dressing Up.
- Prepare cloth set together with your child one night before. I give Elizabeth couple of options and she picks what she wants. Kids love to pick themselves and that will help me tomorrow morning. Another benefit of preparing cloth set one night prior to school is that it saves you from morning drama. Honestly, you will not get something like: “I want that dress with something pink and a butterfly” when nobody has a clue what kind of dress is that. We discuss everything one night before. Including socks/tights and shoes she will wear tomorrow.
- If child is still complaining about the cloth just softly remind him/her that it was his/hers choice. And tonight after school he/she can pick something else for tomorrow.
Challenge #4: Breakfast.
Elizabeth is not used to eat breakfast at home. She always had it in a Daycare. Therefore, that is a new habit she needs to get used to.
- Creative Breakfast. Sure thing! While waking her up I already mention that there is a special breakfast waiting for her. Bread and butter house with a sausage fence that has be to eaten prior getting to a house. Or caterpillar on toast. Or any scene that you can create from food. Promise, soon you will she shapes and plots everywhere and will easily create something interesting from available products.
- Join your child during the breakfast. Talk, have breakfast or just a cup of tea yourself. Make it a family time.
Challenge #5: School Bus
Here we get most of our cries and this is our biggest of the school challenges. Here when I try to explain why kids go to school. Why she will really enjoy going there pretty soon. Talk about new friends, about all new games, letters and songs she will learn there. I totally understand what my 4 years old child felt stepping into the bus for the first time. Stepping all alone with all those strangers inside. I think she was a bit embarrassed, a bit scared and a bit lost. That explains why the most morning drama belongs to the “Yellow Bus”.
Talk to your child about that when you think he/she is in an appropriate mood. Ask what she thinks about the bus? Kids may tell you extremely important things during these kind of conversations. You can help them to overcome their fears. Listen, Support, Encourage, Give examples.
I encourage you to share your school challenges and solutions in comments. I am in the beginning of this trip, so probably not aware about tons of other ones.
Thank you and Good luck!