Last week Mike and I sat down and spoke with Kai's teacher and the PreK director in regards to preparing him for Kindergarten. There were concerns about his ability to self regulate and if he may be too young to really adjust to the structure of the actual classroom setting. Truthfully the feedback was helpful, though my momma heart was so torn and broken as I felt I missed the mark. I kept thinking how did I not see this? Have I been too lenient and passive? What do I do now? And I beat myself up. Blaming what I felt was a stamp or label (which it was not) on our son....and my job as his mom. I cried. I ugly cried. Did I say I cried?
Everything inside of me wanted to quit motherhood for the next several days. But I knew I needed to really get my head straight and see what was what. When you hear "negative" or unpleasant things especially about your children it can overshadow any truth. All of the sudden you think it's ALL bad and it's ALL over, when it's probably not. So I took a mental break and this past weekend I did some rearranging. I received several helpful tips to better prepare myself and Kai for next year along with developing a structure and expectations that are conducive without overwhelming him at home (I'd love to share my 3 favorites):
- Get Creative in Learning your kid's learning style: Though every child learns differently, knowing how your child learns makes you a stronger advocate. You can share and provide tips when working with your child's teacher. It's great to know and verbalize your kid's needs, because they are one of many in a class (not bad, just reality). Trying flash cards, art projects, interactive apps, videos, and games help you gauge what your child leans towards in comprehending content. I'm noticing that Kai does very well with all of those and I'm still learning more!
- Have a learning time in your schedule: It's okay to carve a specific time in your day and/or week that's dedicated to learning and academic growth. I have shied away from this in efforts to not "overwhelm Kai," but he has eaten up our 10-15 minutes a day of skill work. We started off with 5-7 minutes as his attention span was a concern and are close to 10-15 now! I time it as I know he will be required to maintain focus for that long with a few breaks in between.
- Find Resources!: From Pinterest to Target and even ALDI I've found awesome skill workbooks and ideas that have been so helpful. It has also taken the pressure off of having to come up with it all. I will be sharing my favorites soon!
In my fear and lack of knowledge in how to engage Kai academically I almost missed a new side of connecting with him. I'm really grateful that asking other moms, educators, and being able to see the recommendations for him from the school have turned into a positive situation for all of us. Wish us well as I navigate this with him. He is so bright and amazing I want him to always know that.