8 Quirks of the New Kindergartner
It doesn’t matter if your kindergartner goes to school half-days or full days. It doesn’t matter if they went to preschool for 2 years or it’s their first school experience. The transition can be difficult, baffling, but fun. Our sixth child, Beatrix, just started kindergarten two weeks ago. Thankfully, I know some of the issues that are cropping up are normal and not surprising.
1. Extreme Talkativeness: Your kindy kiddo might come home bursting with the news of the day. From the moment he enters the classroom to when he exits the building for the day, amazing things are happening. Letting him talk it out is the best way to help them process everything new. And it will lead to…
2. Serious Fatigue: Beatrix hasn’t been this tired since she was a toddler. Kindergarten 2011 is busy and more demanding than our kindergarten experiences. I went to half-day, she goes all day. I spent my days playing in an indoor sandbox or with the classroom dollhouse. She tackles subjects I didn’t until 1st grade. The good news is that within a few weeks, fatigue starts to fade.
3. Extra Clinginess: Most kindergartners are fine with leaving their parents to go to school. I’ve noticed that when we are at home, my kindergartners like to be my little shadow. Beatrix climbs into my lap again and loves to help with chores and dinner. We miss each other.
4. Announcing a New “Best Friend” Almost Daily: This is a natural way for kids to determine what qualities good friends possess. It takes a while to get to know everyone in a classroom. The danger is hurt feelings and frequent misunderstandings. These new best friends can exert a huge influence on each other, too. Peer pressure doesn’t start at age 13. It starts with 5-year-olds comparing sandwich breads and chips.
5. Adoration of the Teacher: Kindergarten teachers do it all. They teach math and reading, but they also read fun stories, teach songs, and give hugs. They are amazing human beings and kids notice. I was suggesting to Beatrix that she could write a lower case letter a certain way. “No, mom. Mrs. M says that I should do it this way so it will look better.” I had to admit, her way worked, too. Go, Mrs. M!
6. Super-Sensitive: All the learning, the variety of sandwich breads, having to stand in lines, and not getting the library book that was spotted through the window just yesterday can lead to a kid who is a little on edge sometimes. Tears flow more easily when disappointments crop up. It’s part of learning to navigate a new world. My kindergartners also seem to reserve their best behavior for school. Their mischievous personalities spill out at home with little provoking.
7. Hungry, Hungry Kiddo: Even though we pack a bounteous lunch and a snack, Beatrix still comes home ravenous. She could rival our preteen boys in wolfing down crackers and milk.
8. Peacock Proud: This is one of the best kindergarten developments. I love watching and listening when they are demonstrating a new skill or bit of knowledge. It’s really a big deal to learn how to read, when you think about it. Their brains have to arrange tiny symbols into recognizable patterns, solve the clues, and discern context and meaning. It’s a privilege to witness their pride, again and again. Soak up the excitement. Let them feel charged by your pride, too.