Back To School – Two Sides of the Coin (or…Locker?)


They say that this is the “most wonderful time of the year”.  No, I’m not talking about Christmas, I’m referring to Back to School.  Is this true for all parents?  Is the school year a blessing or a source of stress?

I have many friends who absolutely love September.  Their children go back to school and they are left with more free time – time to work, time to relax and time to clean.  I, on the other hand, am not one of those thankful people.  There, I’ve said it!  Wow that feels good!  Yes friends, I am not a fan of sending my Son to school.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love his school, I adore his teachers and opening his book bag after school is like a mini Christmas!  However the number of things I have to stress about has gone up exponentially.  Where do I begin?  Bullies, bad influences, head lice, colds, pink eye…and the list goes on.

When my children are with me I can control where we go, who they are in contact with and monitor their hand washing skills.  During the summer months, nobody got sick.  When my Son, Jack goes to school, all of that control goes out the window.  Despite a “keep your kids home when they’re sick” rule, some parents will try and send their children to school in hopes that their symptoms are overlooked.  That short amount of time in school is enough to spread plenty of germs which will infect other children.  Although I ensure my kids practice good hygiene at home, at school there are so many distractions and Jack may forget to wash his hands on a regular basis.  Tomorrow is the beginning of the third week of school and already, my whole family has gotten sick!

Last year, when Jack was in Kindergarten, there were several instances where a boy thought it would be funny to turn off the bathroom lights while Jack was using the potty.  My poor little man became very afraid in the dark (no windows) and understandably begins to cry and scream.  The vice principal finds him quickly, calms him down and promptly deals with the prankster.  I know, at that age, the boy’s actions were not considered bullying but it was enough to create doubt and insecurity in Jack’s mind.  “Why did the boy do that?”  “Why does he keep doing that?”  “I’m afraid to go potty in school.”  “I don’t want to be his friend anymore.”  I honestly didn’t think I would have to deal with such things in Kindergarten.

All I want is for my children to grow up safe.  When they are with me, they are as safe as they’re gonna get!  When they are in school, I am not in control of what happens and that stresses me to no end.  I’m hoping it will get easier as time goes on but according to my Mother, it doesn’t!


Letting Go…Letting Go…Can’t Hold You Back Anymore…


Most of us have a hard time letting go when it comes to our children starting their personal journeys through school.  It’s difficult to accept that they are entering a world all their own which, for the most part, does not include us.  Their time will be taken up with learning to print, identifying sight words and deciphering the beginning concepts of math.  Their teachers and classmates will become very important people in their lives.  This transition can be difficult for both parents and children.

As you know, I live in Newfoundland.  Today the province’s budget for 2014 was released and it was revealed that in 2016, Kindergarteners will go from a half day, five days per week to full days.  Nobody is sure yet if it will be five days a week or the choice of Mon/Wed/Fri and Tues/Thurs with every other Friday.  This change will come into affect when my Daughter is ready to begin Kindergarten.  I’m really not sure how I feel about this!

If it turns out that the full days only happen on certain days (ie – Tues/Thurs) then I wouldn’t be so opposed to it.  Yes there will be full days but they will be balanced with the following day at home.  I know some of you out there are saying “What about the kids in daycare?”  As always, I’m speaking for myself and how this will affect my children.  During the course of the year, it will be easy to explain that in their next year of school, they will be going to school everyday.

I understand the reason why many parents are excited over this change.  For working parents, this announcement is a blessing.  It means that children can come out of full time daycare a year sooner.  For parents with high energy children, the focus of school studies can help to channel that energy in a positive way.  Finally, some parents simply prefer their children entering the education system head on with full days.

On the other side of the fence, you have people like me.  I’ve grown up with Kindergarten being half day classes.  I believe it’s a wonderful transition into this new world.  Kindergarten is often the first experience for some children in being away from their parents.  To take these kids and place them into full days…it doesn’t seem right.  What is the rush?  Why are we pushing kids to grow up so fast?  Many friends of mine with children in Grade 1 have often described how hard the transition from half days to full days was on their children.  If it’s difficult for kids at the age of six, why do we want to place these hardships on five-year olds?

For now, all I can do is wait and see what comes our way.  No matter what is decided, as always, my family and I will adapt to the changes.  I have two and a half years before I walk my daughter to school in her cute little “first day of school” outfit and adorable backpack.  With all of these changes coming up, I plan on spending each and everyday making the most of my time with her.