Ready for the Worst- First Day of Kindergarten


If you are the kind of parent that plans ahead, then the first day of kindergarten will not take you by surprise.  When the big day arrives, the clothes are all bought, the list the school gave you is complete, teachers conferences are done and you may have even used the last few months before school to help your little one bone up on the alphabet, on her numbers, shapes and colors so that step into a formal educational setting will not be such a shock.

It’s like an invasion in a way.  You are the General and you are preparing your troops to invade a foreign land to achieve an objective.  The difference is the foreign land is not necessarily hostile, it’s a kindergarten room.  And the teacher, administration and even other students there on that first day not only don’t want you to fail, they want to be your team to help your little one do great. The other difference is your invasion force is not a seasoned team of soldiers, it is that sweet little five year old boy or girl with a slightly terrified look in his or her eye.

But like any good General, you do have to be prepared for the unthinkable.  You may make a lot of good speeches about how” failure is not an option”.  But any parent who does not think about what can go wrong and how you will prepare for it and respond is setting themselves up for a catastrophe in the event something doesn’t go perfectly.  But if you are ready for the worst, then your child can still have a great first day at school and get around the problem that otherwise might have ended badly.

The first thing that springs to mind when it comes to accidents or something that might go wrong is with the wardrobe.  In all the excitement and nervousness, if your child spills either on the way to school or during school and soils her garment to where it is not suitable for using the rest of the day, you might get that phone call to come and get your child.

You don’t want to have to take your child out of the classroom until it is absolutely necessary.  You put so much time and effort into building up this big day that to your little boy or girl, if they have to leave the school during the day, it will seem like a tragedy even if it’s only for the day.  The solution for the wardrobe problem is one you may have already thought of which is to send a change of clothes.  By keeping emergency clothing at the school in your child’s locker at all time, it is always there for her to change into and not see a major disruption to her school day.

Another crisis that can come up at the last minute is the sudden emotional meltdown of your child.  If she becomes hysterical with worry or overwhelmed by the newness of it all, it can be a serious issue if you in the drop off line and you need her to go on in to school.  This is not at all unlikely even if you feel your child is not the kind of kid who melts down that easy. The build up to the day and all the new cloths and the excitement can suddenly change course and create an emotional train wreck as your child looks out of the car door at the school door she must go through to start her new life.

But by having a plan, you can even deal with this.  Often such melt downs are temporary.  You can pull out of the drop off line and park the car and comfort the child.  Above all don’t make her feel badly.  Then if she knows its ok, she might recover and go on in.  Worst case – you walk her in.  That is not a catastrophe at all.

Your child must learn to cope with crisis.  It is as much part of learning as books and assignments.  And if she takes her cues from you that there is no crisis that cannot be adjusted to and no issue that cannot be solved, that will be a source of comfort and strength on that first day of school and for every day thereafter.