A letter to Mom on the first day of kindergarten
What your kindergartener needs to start school successfully.
Today I left for my first day of kindergarten. You put me on the bus and watched me drive away with the big kids for the very first time, or you walked me to the door of my class and waved good bye with a smile that I could identify as a little bit forced. I want you to know that I will be OK. School will be hard sometimes and I will be sad sometimes, but school will also be awesome, amazing and wonderful! I will learn how to read and how to do addition. I will learn how to be a good friend and I will learn the consequences of not listening to my teacher. Along the way, Mom, I need some things from you.
I need you to let me be responsible for myself. It’s hard, but when I forget my boots at home, don’t bring them to school. When I forget to bring my homework, it’s OK not to run it up. If I forget snack, I can make it until lunch. It really is OK. Let me learn how to be responsible now because the little things teach big lessons. It’s better for me to learn responsibility when I’m little than when I’m bigger. Teach me responsibility by giving me chores and expecting me to complete them. Read me books about children who are responsible. When I’m bigger, you’ll be glad you took the time to help me learn to be responsible.
Please let me be independent. Remember, someday I will be living all on my own! I need to know how to make good decisions and understand the consequences for poor choices. When there are problems at school, give me the words to talk to the teacher, but don’t make calling her the first thing you do. Teach me how to solve problems with my friends and let me try to solve the problem before you help. As I get older, let me have more independence, learning to walk to the neighbor’s house, calling to arrange my own playdate and explaining to the teacher what happened to my homework. It’s good for me to learn how to do all these things now so when I’m grown up, I know how to tackle problems alone.
Let me experience consequences. If it’s cold and I won’t wear a coat, I will learn why you wanted me to bring a coat. If I don’t pick up my crayons and they get broken, let me color with broken crayons. When I am big, my actions will have much bigger consequences. I need to learn about cause and effect now, and I learn that best when natural consequences are allowed to happen. Try not to jump in to save me; it’s OK to let me fall sometimes. I need to learn how to fail and how to try again when I do. I need to learn to listen and follow directions, and the consequences of not doing so.
And please, let me play. I am still little, even though I want to be big. After school, I need time to just play. To play with my friends, to climb trees and run around. I do want to play soccer, dance and learn to the play the piano and take gymnastics, but I don’t have to do all those things right now. Right now, I have long days and I’m tired at the end of them. I need to be able to let off some extra energy and to rest. Please don’t worry if it doesn’t seem like I am learning enough at school. I will get there in time. I have the whole year to learn what I need to know in kindergarten. Right now, please just let me play and have fun. Help me have a great start to the year and learn to love school.
Thank you, Mom, for all that you have done for me! You nurtured me, loved me and cared for me, brushed my teeth and tucked me in at night. You kept me safe from scary dreams and made sure I had a hug and a kiss when I needed it most. You taught me to take care of myself, to put on my coat and fasten my shoes, to brush my teeth and comb my hair. I will still need you now that I am starting school, but I need you differently. It’s OK to let me go a little, I’m still your baby. I’ll make you proud, you’ll see!
For more information about helping your child succeed in school, visit the Michigan State University Extension website.
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