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Lifestyle // Tannya’s Take
Tannya Joaquin

Kindergarten Challenges Mom, Keiki

Kaimana, kindergarten bound, and Hana following in brother's footsteps TANNYA JOAQUIN PHOTO

Kaimana, kindergarten bound, and Hana following in brother’s footsteps TANNYA JOAQUIN PHOTO

My son is a happy camper. He graduated from his preschool kindergarten camp with flying colors.

Now it’s off to the real deal. I know he’s ready, but am I?

KCAA Kuapa Preschool spent all of July preparing children and their parents for the big switch by adjusting daily routines to resemble a kindergarten schedule.

For starters, arrival by 8 a.m. with added responsibilities: Each child had to sign in, answer a question of the day on the whiteboard, and turn in their homework.

Yes, it starts. Homework assignment No. 1 was to get the kids a backpack big enough to fit a folder without folding it. Straightforward enough, but I didn’t want the first school backpack to be just any backpack.

No, it had to be a special personalized one from Pottery Barn that my kids designed online. Translation: It takes time to make and ship here.

Reading between the lines: We failed our first assignment. We finally got the backpacks shipped to us midway through camp. They replaced the “transition” backpacks we used while we waited for the “official” ones.

Reality check No. 2: I underestimated how long homework would take. Since I don’t get home from work until about 7:40 p.m. at the earliest, it’s another activity to squeeze into our nighttime routine.

The first project involved coloring pictures. We were 10 minutes in when I came up with a shortcut. Instead of coloring in every picture, we put an “x” over the item in the proper color.

I know that probably sounds awful, but my son was getting frustrated that the colored marker was starting to tear the page. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. In this case, mother invented a solution out of necessity.

That’s half of the adjustment process. The emotional effects are another. I definitely noticed more crying in classes as students said bye and sensed their days were numbers. Shoots, I cried seeing time slip away. I will save that for a future column to spare you.

Here are some transition tips from the National Association for the Education of Young Children:

* Adjust routines as needed for school. Knowing what to expect is comforting for children.

* Label everything ― backpacks, lunch boxes, everything your child takes to school.

* Read books together about starting school. Here are a few options recommended by the NAEYC:

* Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten, by Joseph Slate

* Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes, by Eric Litwin

* Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten, by Hyewon Yum

Soothing bedtime stories can be a stress reliever during what can be a scary time for children. A glass of wine can have the same effect for Mommy and Daddy.

tjoaquin@hawaiinewsnow.com

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