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The Right Time to Start School

This week, Mom Squad discusses one of the most important decisions a parent will make: when's the right time to start preschool?

We can’t believe the time to start talking about school is here already. Wasn’t it just yesterday our babies were born!?

Like it or not, it’s time for us to start thinking about the next step, starting school!

Bethany:

I always thought that our kids would go to preschool the year just before kindergarten to get prepared for “real” school. It will be a chance for them to get used to being away from home and Mommy, and used to following rules and directions set by other adults.

They both have friends their own age so they are already used to the concepts of sharing and taking turns. I’m lucky to be able to stay at home with them, and I try my best to teach them what I can and I try to find teachable moments wherever I can too.

This idea of waiting has been just an idea, but now it is obvious that it really is the best thing for Claire. She’s just not ready yet. Plain and simple. There is no magic formula for figuring these sorts of things out. We parents just have to go with our instincts and our hearts.

I always felt that I started school too early myself, and so I’m probably a bit more sensitive to the issue than some others are. I can remember school being scary and overwhelming, and I don’t want Claire (or Joey) to have to go through that. When they are ready they will go, but I will not be pushing them to start early.

Our family is happy with our decision, it is what works best for US. But, we know that each child and each family is different. Like just about every other decision in parenting, you have to do what is right for YOU.

Nicole:

Before I had Evie I had a lot of ideas about what our life would be like, how my kids would be and how my relationship with them would grow. Boy was I wrong. Not that it’s not wonderful, it’s just a LOT different than I could ever imagine. I remember hearing women say “well I had to choose between brushing my hair and putting on lotion” and I thought “oh I’ll NEVER be that way ... I’ll always be able to do both ... .” Ha! Who was I kidding?

What does this have to do with my baby girl starting school? Well ... everything. My life since having children has been 100 percent been about them, and rightly so. However, it’s starting to wear thin. Being together every day, all day can really wear on not just me, but her too. I know when she’s getting annoyed with me. She knows when I’m annoyed with her, she’s no fool. We have the typical mother daughter relationship, we love each other more than words could even explain, but we’re probably the two people in the entire world that drive each other the MOST crazy.

In two weeks my baby girl will be starting preschool. I can’t believe its already here. I also absolutely can’t wait! It’s not that I want to kick her out of the house by any means, but I think we’re both ready for a break. I know that it will make me a better mother. The old adage “absence makes the heart grow fonder” rings true in most cases and for me, this is one of them. On nights when I get to drop Evie off with my parents, the next morning I feel so much more refreshed and ready to take on the everyday challenges that a toddler presents. I’m hoping that this small break from her everyday will be a similar feeling. Just a little break to get us through!

I also know it’s time for Evie. People always wonder what the right time is, and up until about a month ago, I was one of them. I was back and forth on whether she was ready, whether I was ready, whether it was a good time to start. And now I’m sure of it. She is so excited about school. She got her new shoes, she wants to wear her Brobee backpack (what she’s going to put in it I don’t know, but I think it’s adorable), and she can’t wait to meet her new teacher and friends. She talks about school ALL the time. A good friend of mine bought us a First Day of School book and we have read it about 10 times a day since we got it. She’s just thrilled!

We’re sending her to a co-op because that is what works best for us. I’m really excited to be a part of a community again. And for me, the co-op lends much more of the community feel I’m looking for. I get to know the kids, the moms, and the teachers on an everyday basis, which I feel really lucky for. I also get to see Evie grow, learn and play with all her new little friends!

So here I am, waiting patiently for the next two weeks to go realizing that this really is going to be a huge change in our lives. It’s going to be the first time in almost three years we’ve had to work on someone else’s schedule and be accountable for someone other than just ourselves. And you know what? I’m REALLY looking forward to it!

Starting school is probably one of the biggest changes the parent of a young child can go through. But, if you wait until you know you’re both ready, it can be a great and wonderful growing experience for not only you, but your child!


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What are your thoughts on starting school? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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