The Kindergarten Attitude
Last week, I shared on Instagram about Luke’s transition to kindergarten. The response from the post was quite surprising as I realized we were not the only ones who are going through what I call the “Kindergarten Attitude.” Thank you for all who commented and shared their experiences!
Luke has been looking forward to going to kindergarten for the past year. He was ready to leave his daycare/preschool for something new. He was okay with not seeing his best friends at his new school every day. Going to kindergarten for him would mean he was a big kid. We talked about kindergarten all summer.
He. Was. Ready.
To be honest, there is nothing wrong with Luke’s new school. In fact, he loves it. His teachers have told us he’s transitioning really well and is a great student. He tells us everyday how he loves going to school.
But it’s what happens at home that has been a transition for us. We were warned about this Kindergarten Attitude…acting out or having meltdowns at home. And oh boy, there has been some crazy meltdowns on how food his dinner presented, how his toys aren’t lined up correctly, how he doesn’t want to wear certain clothes. The best one is how he doesn’t want to take a bath but when I finally get in the bath and finish the bath, he doesn’t want to get out.
I didn’t think kindergarten would be a big transition for us since Luke has been in daycare all of his life. I figured the biggest change would be the change in environment. But kindergarten is different. Luke is learning so much and building new friendships every day. There are is a new structure to learn and follow. The transition is huge!
The Awkward Transition Phase
It’s been an emotional roller coaster for me since I’m not used to this type of behavior happening so frequently. He’s been more defiant. I’ve had a few meltdowns dealing with his new defiant attitude.
I’m starting to realize that not only is Luke having this huge transition but so am I! I’m calling it the “Awkward Transition Phase.” All this is new to me too. Although I was a kindergartner once, this is my first time as a parent to a kindergartner. There is a huge difference between what is expected of a daycare parent vs. a school parent.
I’ve been attending lots of school activities to try to get involved, to meet other parents and to learn more about the school. There’s so much information sent our way. It’s been exhausting, especially trying to balance work. I’m having somewhat of a tough time striking up conversations with some of these parents or keeping up with what I need to do or what’s going on. They are all nice people but sometimes I feel like it’s so forced. At times, I leave the wondering if I said the right thing, if I tried too hard, or if I projected myself well, etc.
I was not looking forward to Luke starting kindergarten, but I was hoping that when it did happen, we would make all these new friends and everything would be wonderfully happily ever after!
Well, making new friends is hard! Especially when most of the people already know each other. The school is not exclusive. It’s a very inclusive community. But when you’re new to a group or community, it’s hard to get situated or figure out where you belong. It’s like I know who I am already but now I have to figure out who I am all over again since it’s a new environment.
Like Luke, it seems like I’m trying to keep my cool at these events only to come home feeling a bit frustrated. It has made me exhausted (coupled with work) and has probably made Luke’s meltdowns at home even worse than they should be because I tend to get impatient and just lose it.
Taking a Break
As I’ve learned in life, change is hard. It’s always the beginning that’s the hardest. And when you have to figure out who you are again, it just makes it awkward.
To help me deal with this awkward phase, I’ve decided to take a break from some of these school activities. I’m feeling overwhelmed and exhausted to try to keep up with all these activities. Some of them aren’t even mandatory. Eventhough they are great ways to get involved and to meet the parents at Luke’s school, I need to give myself a mental break.
I know building relationships take time. I need to put less pressure on myself to try to build them so quickly. It’s still early in the school year. Hopefully we can get rid of Luke’s Kindergarten Attitude and my Awkward Phase in the next few months so I can have some fun news to share.
In the meantime, I’m going to slow down and enjoy my coffee breaks.