The first few days and weeks of school are a big deal for kindergarteners and their parents. It may feel like nothing has changed since preschool (because the last year flew by in the blink of an eye), but 5 and 6-year-olds are actually entering into a completely new phase.
This is the phase when unfiltered words make you laugh, homework makes you cry, and life becomes a stage where your kid shouts “look at me!”
Here are three important things to know before a student’s first day of kindergarten.
1. This phase is full of personality and memorable statements.
By this age, a child can talk in sentences . . . and long run-on sentences, paragraphs, and wandering monologues. Sometimes it may seem as if the only goal for conversation is to Just-Keep-Talking. You will be amazed and entertained by all the profound and uncensored things they say. “I’m half Irish and half human.” “How did you get the wrinkles out of your hair?” “When I grow up, I’m going to have bracelets on my teeth.” “You’re talking so much I can’t hear you.”
2. Amid all this delightful exchange, there is one major cultural shift—school.
This means less time for play, more early morning alarm clocks, and a higher demand for focused attention. While kids at this age thrive on routine and predictability, they also crave opportunities to have a little unstructured play, a chance to skip and run, to throw and catch, and to use their imagination.
3. When formal education starts, so does competition for adult attention.
Where previously a kid might have been one adorable toddler drawing the attention of multiple adults, they are now in a classroom with multiple kids—some even as cute and as smart as they are. At school, at church, or on the soccer field, one thing is true: the moment you show up, they will start talking to you as if they are the only one there. They want your undivided attention, your focus and your approval. So give it, as freely and as often as you can to as many as possible
Every phase is crucial because it has it’s own: significant relationships, present realities, and distinctive opportunities. Kindergarten is no exception. So we have to pay attention, we have to do our homework, and we have to show up consistently.