Top 10 Things A Parent Should Know Before the First Day of (Pre)School

Maybe it was kindergarten.

Maybe it was daycare.

Maybe it was preschool.

But the time eventually comes when the youngest (and the older) children are out of the house at the same time.

Tuesday was that day for me.

The day I have coveted since last February arrived: both of my children are attending Mother’s Day Out.

It isn’t all day at this one. It’s only from 9:30 to 1:30.

For four hours twice a week, I am not responsible for my little bundles of chaos.

What did I learn from their first day?

Top 10 Things A Parent Should Know Before The First Day of (Pre)School

Buy many. But do not inhale.

1.   Invest in permanent markers: It is the beginning of writing your child’s name on everything, and the markers you had before will magically disappear.

2.   Doctor’s offices still live in the dark ages: Need vaccination records? Good luck. Our company doesn’t store them digitally. I recently switched to a different physical location and pediatrician within the same umbrella of offices. The records could only be retrieved from the location they physically resided in. I’m not sure if this applies to all their medical records. It seems like a bad idea to only have one copy of such things, given our entire state’s resemblance to a tinder block and the outbreak of fires we currently have going on.

Be careful. It could come to this.

3.  Prepare for Parking Wars: School pick up and drop off is a minivan and SUV rush hour – a fight for a parking space in what could be TLC’s newest show, Parking Wars. Arriving earlier doesn’t help, unless you want to camp out. And if you’re late, you get sent to the office…. I think.

4.   Go back-to-school preschool shopping at Goodwill: My son’s class actually had a message informing me to “send your child in old clothes.” His teacher firmly believes in having kids do the messy stuff that parents don’t want to deal with. I love her for this alone, but I found myself with the odd problem of not enough old clothes that fit him.

Shower first. Then smile. You're going in "the book" too.

5.  Take a shower before you go: They took a photo of me with Lil Diva for their book. Good thing I was forewarned about this, or it could have been very scary.

6.  Beware of The Parent Cryer: As you escort your kids to their classrooms, you will no doubt see one parent completely break down following their moment of separation. DO NOT LOOK. Their tears will somehow stoke your own tear ducts and you’ll sniffle yourself into a cryer too.

7.  Four hours isn’t really four hours: By the time you count drop off time , drive time, a trip to Autozone to discover your check engine light has something to do with the catalytic converter (or the sensor itself), hunting for a copy of the vaccination record you know you have, acquiring records for another child, Googling the children’s hospital, looking up your neighbors house number for the emergency form because you typically just walk over there and don’t look at the actual number, learn of more fire break outs, talk with husband between meetings to see if you need to take car to mechanic and finally get him to order a part so you can have a working oven again, there just isn’t much time left for the drive back to school and another Parking Wars. Your huge “To Do” list remains.

8.  Get Used to Waiting Your Turn: If you want to know if your child did well or channeled the exorcist you have to wait for your turn, because the parents in front of you want to know too. The younger the child, the longer the line.

9.  Your child will eat “dessert” first for lunch: Without you around to strategically hide any possible dessert before the main course, your child will hit the sweetest item first. It could be the breakfast bar (The Tackler), or the grapes (Lil Diva). Either way they will have leftover sandwich.

10.  Distance makes your kids actually miss you: How many times have you watched your spouse get the exuberant greeting as they run full tilt and wrap them in hugs, kisses, and smiles while you are ignored because you’re with them all day? Now that greeting is yours to claim. And it’s awesome.

My children loved their first day. Loved.

Let’s see how day two goes on Thursday.

What did you learn from your child’s first day of daycare/preschool/kindergarten? What did you do with your “free” time?

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About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos (www.writingwithchaos.com) sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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16 Responses to Top 10 Things A Parent Should Know Before the First Day of (Pre)School

  1. Awww…I’m so glad that your kiddos had such a good time! You’re right…4 hours is more like 2 1/2 if you’re lucky. But it is glorious 2 1/2 hours isn’t it?

  2. Katie says:

    Little Man’s first day back after summer break is today. I think everyone’s ready for him to go back! Glad your kids’ first day went well!

    • I’m interested to see if day 2 goes as well. The Teachers say that is traditionally the hardest day.

      A small break like that really makes the kids thrive. And they miss me for a change.

      I hope the sleep training is going well!

      • Katie says:

        It’s going great — I am more rested than I have been in weeks! She had a couple of rough nights with a decent amount of crying, but now after 4 nights, she cries very little, puts herself to sleep and back to sleep when she wakes up, and we’re down to one night feeding that lasts about 15-20 minutes before I put her back in her crib sleepy but awake. So glad I am doing this earlier than I did with Little Man!

  3. Haha! I especially love #6. Those crying moms make me look like I’m a crying mom too, all the time 🙂

  4. I had to start dropping Li’l D off at daycare when he was 10 weeks old. (Ugh!) Almost every minute of the many minutes I spent in the car that week involved me being that parent from #6.

    We’ve gone through periods where he couldn’t wait to see me at the end of the day and ones where he’s cried to be separated from his “nana.” We’re now in one where he shouts “Mama!” when he sees me at the end of the day and tackles me an enormous knee hug.

    I love this. I wish it would be like this forever, even though I know I’d miss out on other awesome things . . .

  5. The beginning of freedom! (And a whole other set of crises like vaccination forms).

    Yay for the start of a new stage, though!

  6. Pingback: Life Replays: Remembering 2nd Grade | kateschannel

  7. I think I’m the only mother on the planet who decided a long time ago to just not label a thing.
    Not clothing, or sand toys, or lunch accessories…nothing.

    I figure whatever has ended up lost costs less than the price of all those Sharpies.

    Oh yeah and I’m lazy.

    Congrats on your fifteen minutes of freedom (or four hours. Whatever).
    XOXO

    • Not a thing?

      Nothing?

      I have to label a few items because otherwise the teachers wouldn’t know which cup is hers, at least until they “get to know” her. Just in case another parent forgets to label.

      I don’t want to piss them off with my first “school” experience.

      The Tackler once had his shoes mistakenly worn from the gym’s childcare center – the other boy had shoes like it but had not worn that version that day. I made the people there have every child grab their shoes from the cubby and found one pair left – the actual child’s.

      The Tackler wore those shoes for two weeks, until I finally spied The Tackler’s (unlabeled) shoes in another cubby one day. I took them up to the employee’s, said “these are the shoes that were taken” and asked them to explain to the mother.

      The mother refused the exchange because she had to verify two pairs existed.

      Finally, several days later, she admitted to her son grabbing the wrong pair and left The Tackler’s there – and I in turn returned her son’s shoes.

      Ever since, The Tackler will not put his shoes in a cubby at the gym. He puts them up the staff’s check-in desk.

      He was VERY upset when his shoes went missing and does not want it to happen again.

      So I label, to avoid a shoe-stealing type incident again.

  8. Pingback: Things parents should know on the first day of school

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