Now that we’ve settled into the routine of the school year, figured out new schedules, and what time we actually have to leave the house to beat the car line rush, I’ve had some time to reflect on what I hope my daughter gets out of her first year in school.
I’m not talking about ABCs and 123s. While those are essential, I’m thinking about the non-academic stuff. The social and emotional lessons that will set her up for success in the future.
#1: You can do it yourself!
It’s great to be wanted and needed, but man, do I love it when my child figures out how to do something new by herself. And she does too! The pride of that “got it” moment is written all over her face. And at school, with 20 other kids in class, there are lots more opportunities to do things for yourself. It’s why we practiced school lunch this summer, so no one had to open her lunchbox or packages for her.
#2: But you’ll still need to work together!
“Play nice!” We’ve all yelled this roughly 1 billion times as parents, right? Share, take turns, stop hitting them on the head? This is one I feel a little “mom guilt” around. My daughter’s an only child, and while she’s spent tons of time with other kids in preschool, playdates, etc., it’s not something she really has a way to work on at home. We work together as a family, but the dynamic of grownup vs. 5 year old is different than 5 year old vs. 5 year old. Being in a “big kid” classroom, and having class goals and expectations is a whole new experience, and learning those teamwork skills are crucial.
#3: Keep reading!
I know, I know, I said non-academic lessons, and this one skirts the line. My daughter loves books. Loves story time. Loves the library. And as she continues to work on sight words and phonics, I know the day will come where she doesn’t need to cuddle close with me to escape into a book. My hope is that this year, and in years to come, she learns more about the magic of those words, and their power to transport you anywhere.
#4. Shine bright, and shine your light!
Little one, you have no problem letting your light shine, being the center of attention, and making sure everyone in the room can hear your big voice. I hope that confidence stays with you forever. But one final thing I hope you learn this year is how to use that light to shine on others. I want you to shine on a friend who’s learned a new skill, to highlight a classmate who has been working really had, and to use that bright light of yours to bring up everyone around you.