Adjusting to Kindergarten as a Parent

With school now being in session for over a month and trying to adjust to kindergarten as a parent and a family, these thoughts and frustrations have been bouncing around in my head and I had to share them and hopefully get reassurance that I’m not the only one who feels like this.

On the one hand,  I’m excited about this new stage in Keyan’s life, especially because he seems to be really enjoying and thriving in his French Immersion Kindergarten class. Everyday he as something new to talk to me about whether it’s a new french word he learned, something he drew, how he got to deliver something to the office or a new feat on the playground.

salma and keyan

On the other hand, the poor guy is so exhausted when he comes home after a six-hour day. Is it really necessary  for four and five year olds to be in school for that long? Even his teacher told us, in so many words, that it was too much for kids so young but that’s the way things are now. And yes, I know that I don’t have to send him to Kindergarten or I can pull him out for half days if I want but when I mention that to him he doesn’t want to.

Of course there’s the other side of it.  He has all these other things that he likes doing such as swimming recreationally, story time at the library, putting up Halloween decorations and other fun stuff. But everything is so rushed because now that he’s in school, he has a 7:00pm bedtime otherwise he won’t make it through the next day without a meltdown.

story time

So with those four hours in-between when school ends and he goes to sleep what do we fit in? Is it a quiet and calm activity like his teacher suggested, is it some reading, writing and math in English that’s also suggested? Or do we do a gymnastics class that Keyan keeps asking about or do we to crafts? And let’s not forget that there’s dinner to be prepared as well as bath and bedtime.

keyan practicing numbers

But of course there are weekends when we can do the fun stuff right? In theory yes. But now that Keyan’s five, he also has Sunday school, which is actually on Saturday for us. Then Sunday is usually a day for my in-laws to spend with the kids because they don’t get to see them a  lot during the week. And there are swimming and sports lessons squeezed in between there.

I guess maybe I’m just feeling overwhelmed along with a sense of loss. School has only been going for a month, so I’m sure it’ll just take some time to adjust, figure things out and make them work. After all, school’s here for the next 13 years right.

How do you you make things work and fit in with your family and schedule?

24 thoughts on “Adjusting to Kindergarten as a Parent

  1. I’m in the empty nest stage of life, and it gives you some perspective. I am against full day kindergarten personally, although it helps out working families. My son (who is in his 20’s) was fortunate enough still to be able to have half day kindergarten when he went. The other thing I don’t like to see is how kindergarten has become a full fledged formal educational experience rather than a kind of ease in to full school. I think many 4 and 5 year olds are just not ready developmentally for what is being thrown at them. He enjoys some of it – I would suggest continuing to monitor. You don’t want the beginning of school to set a negative tone for the rest of his long school years.

  2. You’re a very intuitive mum with a strong bond with your son, so you will figure this one out. I feel your frustration and sense of loss, it’s probably what kept me from putting my oldest son in school at all (we homeschooled all our kiddos, but it started with my being unwilling to put him in kindergarten many years ago because I selfishly didn’t want to give up time with him). Childhood is so fleeting. It is a shame that our kids can’t be kids for as long as possible.

  3. Hi Salma,

    I can tell you are a very passionate and loving mom. I applaud you for that. Seems like you are not only missing your little guy but you have a lot going on. I think that is all natural. I always say the job of a mom is so unappreciated sometimes. We men sometimes cannot grasp what it takes to be a mom. From the outside looking in it looks like you are doing a superb job. Thank you for allowing us all to have a small part of your life. Have a great week ahead.

  4. I feel the same way Salma. He is absolutely exhausted and has been acting out lately and I’m wondering if it’s because he’s so tired from school and his activities. Things will be better and you will establish a new routine.

    Agi:)

  5. I’m going through the same thing with my son! I get he’s transitioning but I am feeling overwhelmed with having to get everything done after work and before bedtime. Plus, he’s been irritable, I’m irritable and my youngest is acting out because of it all. With the new bedtime he’s finally been acting better in the last few days so that’s great but I feel like I get no time with him! I’m really struggling with this change.

    1. I can definitely relate to your struggle Farin. Now with the school year all but over, it has been a learning experience and things have gotten better. I hope you found that as well.

  6. With the kids being in high school, homework doesn’t take up much time any longer. They work on their homework after school so by the time they get home, they study and then relax. Plenty of family time (IF they weren’t into their TV’s). However, they’ll soon have many activities to keep us busy.

  7. Thank you for sharing your feelings about this. I’m learning a lot from what you’re experiencing and hopefully prepare myself once my son starts school. He’s 2.5 yrs old so we’re about to start looking at preschool pretty soon.

    Your schedule is packed and seems that there are plenty of activities one after the other! And I know the feeling where you feel you still need to do more and not enough time. Lovely that your little guy enjoys school and extra curricular activities and get to spend time with his grandparents.

  8. Kindergarten is becoming more intense for kids. That’s okay for a lot of kids; we as parents just need to keep our eyes on our kids to make sure they are holding up under the workload. And having some kid fun as well!

  9. I’m really happy and lucky that my son is adjusting well to kindergarten. He loves it, and while he is tired some afternoons, he’s fine most afternoons. He has a 9 pm bedtime (can rarely sleep before that and is always up at 7), so I feel like we have lots of time to do things. It also allows us time to do stuff in the late afternoon and then have quiet time in the evening.

    1. That’s so great Sarah! And I guess every child needs different amounts of sleep. It’s nice that you have that extra time to do things in the evening, it mush be great 🙂

  10. I am in the process of looking for the right school for Iliyan since he will be starting kindergarten next year. In Chicago, kids are eligible to attend any public school in Chicago -but some schools require academic testing while others are lottery based. I feel like I’m trying to get my son into university!

    But to address your concern, since my kids have been in full day preschool/daycare since they were babies, full day kindergarten will be fine for them. Iliyan stopped taking naps even though it is offered in his class. So he has started painting and making books while his classmates nap.

    I have considered signing Iliyan up for Karate and I think he will do fine taking it after school. Hopefully he will fall asleep better! He could stay up to 10 pm if we let him, seriously.

    So I say, all kids are different. And maybe that’s why they have a half day and full day option for kindergarten. And since my kids are used to being in a school setting, I think their transition will be smoother. And I truly feel they need more education in kindergarten than just an introduction into full day school because my son knows everything a kindergartener knows due to the curriculum in his preschool.

    Either way, you know your child best. Adjusting takes time. And soon you will be blogging about juggling school and all of those after school activities!

    1. Yes, you are right all kids are different. I’m sure the fact that Keyan didn’t go to daycare or preschool full time does affect the adjustment period and transition. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Maria 🙂

  11. My daughter loves school. She went to daycare though and was well adjusted. She is not tired after school infact quite the opposite she is tired of being inside and wants to spend time outside so we go to the park or something when its nice or the mall when its too cold.

  12. Oh I totally get the feeling of not enough hours of the day and that we are teaching our daughter to burn the candle at both ends. I was lucky, though, life didn’t start getting really complicated until this year (5th grade). Before then I was a tyrant about nothing after school. Yes her life is beyond busy now, but I’m glad we had those first few years of not overscheduling

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