As we head into back to school season, I can't believe that I have a kindergartner!
Some of you know that my soon-to-be kindergartner was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder when he was two. He has been through many hours of physical therapy, feeding therapy, and speech therapy. Because he was diagnosed young, he qualified to attend our school district’s special education program starting at age three. I was so excited for him to be in a program that offered therapy in a highly social school environment.
He recently graduated from his program and advanced out of most of his therapies, and he is thrilled to start mainstream kindergarten!
I have many friends that are sending their sweet babies off to school for the first time this fall. Being that this is our "fourth" year of school, I thought I would offer some tidbits that I have learned about back to school:
1. Trust your child’s teacher. You have worked so hard to nurture and grow this little person and now they are going to be under someone else's care. Trust your child's teacher. They want your child to be as successful as possible!
2. Keep the first drop off positive. You are leaving your little one all alone in a big scary school. Guess what? They are going to love it, and will find their own path! Don't hold them back from doing so. Momma needs to appear strong, resilient and so excited for the first day of school. Share with them what the day will look like, who they will meet, where they will have lunch and what you are going to pack for them. Inform them and send them off.
3. DO NOT LINGER! I see this every year. You are nervous, your little is nervous. So you hang around to "make sure" they are okay. Guess what? This makes drop off more difficult. Drop your little off, give them a hug, and tell them you will see them after school and leave. Cry, sob or puke out of earshot and out of sight. Show them that school is fun and not scary! They are ready for this!
4. Start your bedtime routine earlier. Being in school is a huge adjustment for kids! They need more sleep at night to make sure they are ready for the day! My Kindergartener is STILL a three-hour napper. I am sad to give those up and the first couple of months of school will be hard but they will adjust!
5. Offer extra food at breakfast and dinner. Every day I dutifully packed my son’s lunch. For the first month and a half, almost his whole lunch was coming home with him... he wasn't eating anything! Any mom with an SPD kid knows that "a hungry kid will eat" doesn't apply with SPD. Most, like mine, don't know how to eat! Add in the social factor of lunchtime and your kids might not eat for the first couple of weeks. This could be the first time they have meals socially with their peers. Fill them up at breakfast and make extra food at dinnertime. High protein and low sugar is the way to go! And make sure that their snacks have a protein buddy! Pair a carb and protein together. This will keep them from crashing later.
6. Practice using the potty alone. Make sure that your child can handle going to the bathroom alone. Doing this at home is easy. Being in a bathroom with stalls and trying to get buttons undone can be difficult. Make sure your kids are practicing at home, and dressed in easily operable pants so they are prepared.
7. Be kind to the teacher. Not only are they helping you teach your little to be a great person, but they are probably nervous about the school year too! Lord only knows what I would do if I was put in charge of 25 five and six year olds! Teachers worry about classroom dynamics, lesson plans, standardized testing, and getting to know each child in their class. Be sure to bring them a Starbucks card and thank them for investing in your child this year.
Happy back to school! YOU CAN DO THIS, MOMMA!
Erin Houg is the owner of FIT4MOM Redmond/Kirkland/Woodinville. She loves to share her journeys in motherhood. You can check out her blog here!