5 Things I Have Learned From Our First 3 Months in Preschool
This post was brought to you in partnership with KinderCare. Thank-you for supporting the sponsors that help keep Momma Society going. :)
I used to look forward to the weekends, but now I look forward to preschool days. There is something about those preschool mornings that yields a sense of routine. Preschool mornings mean an excited boy and a happy momma. They also almost guarantee an awesome afternoon nap when we return.
For months, I debated when to begin preschool with Brody. The momma in me wanted him to stay at home with me as long as possible. I could start to teach him things. He could get the socialization from friends etc. The truth is, he was getting so bored at home. It was harder to arrange those frequent outings with friends now that we had a newborn. He needed something special to look forward to during the week. And to be honest, I needed a little time to bond with just Isla without feeling like I was neglecting Brody. So this past Fall, we decided it was time to start seriously considering preschool.
We are now starting our fourth month of preschool and I can truly say enrolling Brody in preschool at 2.5 years old was one of the best decisions we have made. There are the obvious rewards like his vocabulary and creativity growing, but it is the little things that are bringing us the most joy. The stories he comes home sharing about his day, the confidence he has gained around new people and the huge grins he gives when he sees me walk in the door to pick him up. He is learning things I would have never thought to teach him. His little personality is blossoming. It has been a really positive experience for us as first time preschool parents.
Here are 5 things I have learned from my first 3 months as a preschool mom.
1. Good-byes are hardest on momma.
On the first day, when I was unloading Brody from the car for drop off, I had to hold back tears. The realization the my little boy was even old enough to be in preschool and the anxiety of leaving him somewhere new weighed heavy on my heart. You know what he did? He waved bye to me and did not shed a tear. When I picked him up that first day he had the biggest grin on his face and he could not stop talking about all he had learned. From that day forward, I knew Brody was in great hands.
2. Not all schools are created equal.
The teacher is what truly makes the preschool experience positive or negative. Finding a caring teacher who is personable and welcoming is essential to a great first school experience. Just as there are first impressions when you meet someone, when you walk into a teacher’s classroom you will immediately feel a positive or negative vibe. We toured a handful of different programs and so many of them just did not give me the immediate happy feels. When we finally found the preschool Brody attends, we signed up within minutes. You will know when it feels like home.
A good place to begin your search is with national education centers that have a strong reputation. Centers like KinderCare, which stress the importance of having talented & dynamic educators, offer preschool classes across the country. They set themselves apart by creating a positive environment for the students, teachers, and parents. Look for programs that are structured with weekly lesson plans—this will help you understand what your little ones are learning and provide great conversations starters for your drive home. Chat with other parents. Find out what they like and dislike about the preschools they send their kids to. Read reviews online. Ask questions on the tour. Do not settle. You need to be as excited about the school as your little one is.
3. Week 3 can be the hardest.
We coasted through the first two weeks of preschool. Everything was new. It was exciting and then week 3 hit. One of my dearest friends warned me about the first two weeks—the honeymoon phase. “Be prepared for week 3,” she had told me. The first day of week 3 arrived and we walked into the classroom as usual when Brody started freaking out about me leaving. He was screaming and crying as his sweet teachers reminded him I would be back to pick him up in just a few short hours. I barely made it to my car before I too broke down bawling my eyes out, convinced Brody would spend the next 2.5 hours miserably screaming for mom. But within 5 minutes of being home, I received a text from his teacher with a picture of Brody smiling and playing. Happy tears started filling my eyes and I was once again so grateful for his wonderful teacher. The good-byes that followed after that week became easier and easier. I learned it was best not to linger when I dropped him off. I realized a silly “see ya later alligator” instead of “bye brody” would make him smile. And now, 3 months in, he yells “see ya mom!!” as he excitedly waves bye.
4. Preschool comes with cooties.
It is true---preschool comes with cooties. The germaphobe in me feared this, but I keep reminding myself that Brody is building up his immunities. It seems like every other week we all have a runny nose or a cough. I am sure it did not help that we started school at the beginning of cold & flu season. Stock up on those boxes of tissues and the dispensers of hand sanitizer and be prepared for some sick days from the get-go. Hopefully this means we will have less sick days come kindergarten.
5. You will need more magnets for your fridge.
I am so amazed by the amount of activities Brody’s teachers organize during his mornings at preschool. He comes home with a backpack full of art and crafts every day. He is so proud of each one of them. Get ready for your refrigerator to be covered in art work.
Sending your little one off to school for the first time can be a roller coaster of emotions---as it was for me. The cool thing about preschool is that you have choices—lots of choices on programs to attend. Programs like KinderCare help build a solid foundation and confidence in their students for the rest of their lives. Preschool is the first building block of a lifelong education. Search until you find that spot that gives you all the happy feels and suddenly preschool days will become your favorite days of the week too.
Thank-you KinderCare for sponsoring this post. You can learn more about KinderCare and search for a facility near you on the KinderCare webpage.