Back to School

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We’ve had our first week of school here, and we are slowly adjusting to the new routine.  With three kids gone all day for the first time ever, it’s definitely weirdly quiet in my house now.  I kind of hate when all the kids are gone all day because I really do miss them, but there are some things I love about it too…

Like, I ran errands twice this week with only Q tagging along, and we got everything done in less than half the time it would have taken last week, and with about 100% less arguing/bickering/threatening than the last few grocery trips we took over the summer.

And I only have to run the dishwasher once a day instead of 2-3 times.

When I clean the kitchen in the morning, it basically stays clean until I make dinner.

I make 75% fewer snacks and lunches during the day (although on day 3 I was already annoyed while packing lunches in the morning for the three big kids).

The hard part right now is guiding three very different children through the transition of the first few weeks.

B is in 4th grade and loves school, so she is pretty easy, but I do need to continually check in with her on friends and social stuff.  She tends to be more reserved making new friends, so I always like to ask if she is talking to new people, who in her class she sat with for what, and if she has made any new friends.  So far, so good; she has a very good friend from last year in class, and made a new friend already, so hopefully she has a fun year. 

G is in 1st grade and he also loves school, but it Wears. Him. Out.  Because he tends to be my most active child, the self-control required to maintain school behavior all day just takes it out of him.  I appreciate that he is ABLE to exercise such self-control while he is in school, but when he gets home he tends to melt down a bit–he is just exhausted but unwilling to admit it.  This is tricky, because I don’t want to punish him for being tired, but he could really use a nap after school and he doesn’t have time to take one.  I thought he might be better this year now that he’s older, but already I can see how the long school day takes it toll on his ability to make good decisions.  We may have to experiment with “quiet time” for him on days when he doesn’t have baseball practice and see if that helps him get through the afternoon.

O came out of school on the first day saying, ” I LOVE KINDERGARTEN!!!”, which is everything I hoped for.  Then he came out on day two saying he had the worst day ever.  Not as awesome, but I was less concerned when he explained that it had to do with no one playing with him on the playground.  I think he just has to make some friends and see that everyone kind of plays with everyone.  Thursday and Friday he was happy again, although he was totally in disbelief on Friday morning when I told him he had to go to school AGAIN.  He was ready to stay home and play for a day.

I’m trying to really think about each child’s individual personality to make the transition as easy on them as possible without babying them.  Quiet rest time might help one, while the other one needs a play date with her best friend/next door neighbor, and the third one just needs some play time at home.  I know in a few weeks everyone will be back to normal–probably just in time for the time change, so we can have another week of chaos and no routines.

Then we have today…today is Q’s first day of preschool.  My BABY starts school today.  He, I have no doubt, is going to walk into class without hesitation and love every minute, but I am probably going to cry the whole drive home.  I also know that a few hours of child-free time will go a long way to making me feel better, though.

Do your kids love back-to-school, or do they have a hard time getting back into school mode?  What do you do to make it easier on everyone?

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