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“KEEP IT UP. WE ALL HAVE TO START SOMEWHERE.”

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Hi, I'm Krystal.
Welcome to The Proffitt Podcast - where we teach you how to create  content with confidence.
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Elsewhere

That’s right friends. I don’t walk my kids into school on their first day, not even in Kindergarten. I don’t believe it’s a practice that is necessary. And yes, I do realize this is a VERY unpopular opinion.

But what if they get lost trying to find their classroom?

What if they go into the WRONG classroom?

How will they know who their teacher is?

Don’t you want to take a picture of them on their first day of school?

But what if he notices he’s the ONLY one without parents there on his very first day of school? Won’t he be sad?

These were questions my husband asked me on our oldest son’s first day of Kindergarten. And my response to him was very loving and simple. “I see so many opportunities for them to learn. So what better way to teach them than on their first day of school?”

But of course he wanted to know what my reasons were for sending our sweet little 5 year-old into a big ole scary building he wasn’t familiar with. So I gave him my reasons for my “irrational behavior” and I’ll give them to you too.

 

First Day of School Chaos

My parents never walked me into school.

This isn’t one of my husband’s questions, but I thought I should throw it in – ya know, for good measure.

The earliest memories I have of school is my very first day of Kindergarten in Mrs. Ford’s class. I actually remember her sticking out her hand out for me to shake and saying, “Well, it’s nice to meet you Krystal.” She was an angel!

What I don’t remember are parents frantically running around the school with their Kindergarteners, toddlers, and infants all in tow with strollers and backpacks and embroidered lunch boxes.

Honestly, I don’t remember my parents being there at all. Knowing them, they probably dropped me off in front of the school, gave me a big hug and kiss, and told me to have a good day. A practice they continued until I was too cool and I started riding to school with older brother.

But I remember being excited that I would make one new friend and that I was finally starting big kid school. I wasn’t going to be a baby anymore! (Though my two older brothers still continued to call me a baby for several more years!)

And I remember loving the sound of the pencil sharpener! (Except I wasn’t crazy about the pink junk that fell off the erasers! It wasn’t much fun when it got all over my clothes!)

The point I’m trying to make is that giving your kid some independence (maybe disguised as a little tough love) can go a long way! And why not start in Kindergarten with all the excitement and newness? It can be a great time to help your kid feel more independent.

Scary School Hallway

What if they get lost trying to find their classroom?

I know it can be scary to let your kiddo wander into a building where you don’t know all the teachers or you may not be completely familiar with all the halls, but I believe that teaching our kids to ask questions at a young age can build self-confidence.

And trust me, I hear the irrational inner voice just as much as you do. “But what if a sex predator jumps out of the darkness and snatches my baby boy?” Okay, first of all, calm down. Take a deep breath there, inner voice. You’ve obviously had too much coffee.  

Everyone has these unreasonable thoughts from time to time, especially when we’re already nervous about letting go. But I believe your school has followed the proper regulations to ensure your child’s safety walking into the building. Especially since most of the time they’re journey from getting out of the car and going into the school isn’t any more than halls they’ll learn to navigate this school year.

Go to your school’s Meet the Teacher night so your child sees familiar faces on the first day. Tell them who they need to know (their teacher and principals) and tell them to remember who those people are.

If you can’t make Meet the Teacher, go to your school’s website. More than likely, your child’s teacher and principals will be on their with a picture of their bright smiling faces! Tell your kiddo that these are people they should look for if they need help.

Be sure to have a conversation with your child about what happens if they get lost. Tell them to ask one of teachers or staff members in the car line where their classroom is. Teach them how to recognize person’s of authority in the school. (In my experience, it’s usually someone with a walkie talkie or a bright name badge.)

And let them know it’s okay to if they don’t know where something is today, it’s their first day after all! A lot of people are probably going to get lost! They’re not the only ones. Help them see that today is a new beginning for everyone in the school, even the teachers!

Wrong Classroom

What if they go into the wrong classroom?

Has anyone else ever done this? You’re not 100% paying attention or you’re looking at something while you’re walking (probably your phone). You’re obviously on auto-pilot, then you sit down in a seat that doesn’t feel that familiar and the people around you look very different.

Then you realize, you’re in the wrong classroom. Or the wrong meeting. Or you’re there an hour too early. Or even worse…an hour late!

I’ve done all of the above. And I’m still here to talk about.

Nobody died of embarrassment (though there were some looks of confusion) when I slowly got up and walked back out into the hallway to figure out my mistake.

But the lesson I learned? I didn’t make that mistake again. And neither will your kiddo. If they walk into the wrong classroom, or even worse if they sit down and hang out in the wrong classroom, someone will notice. A teacher doing roll call will see an extra body they hadn’t planned for. Or the expectant teacher missing a child will probably go in a frenzy looking for her lost kid.

I promise, it’ll get resolved! But it’s not something to fret over. Again, it’s everyone’s first day. “But my child can’t read! She won’t know how to spell her teacher’s name or recognize it on their door!” Valid point.

Can you at least tell her the first letter of their name? Can you help them practice how to pronounce their name over and over again? Can you teach them to say, “My name is                       and my teacher is                        . Can you help me find my classroom?”

And the answer is yes. You can teach them this even on the car ride to school.

Who Is My Teacher

How will they know who their teacher is?

Hopefully you will have met your child’s teacher at Meet the Teacher night. But if you aren’t able to make it, go to your school’s website and find a picture of him/her. Notice their defining characteristics.

“Okay, honey, remember Mrs. Smith wears glass like Mommy, she had bright red hair, and lots of pretty freckles just like your brother.”

Kids really pick up on these things, even at a young age. It’s a great time to teach them how people are different in their own, very unique way.

Pics on First Day of School

Don’t you want to take a picture of them on their first day in their classroom?

I love how readily accessible our cameras, I mean our phones, are these days to snap memories. But I don’t think having the entire school filled with parents, kids, and even more kids who are being pushed in strollers is productive for everyone’s first day. Maybe the teachers plan for this chaos, but it seems way too stressful – for everyone!

We take “First Day of School” pictures at home. After all, I’m not a complete monster.

But if you feel like you MUST have a picture of your child in their classroom, take a picture at Meet the Teacher. Or throughout the school year. Trust me, there aren’t going to be limited options to see your child in their classroom.

This is also a good chance to cut the cord and let them enjoy their first day. I know that’s a little harsh, but it needs to be said. You aren’t going to be there with them to figure all of life out for the many years of confusion, mistakes, and questions to come, so why not start on Day One?

Start when they’re in a safe environment filled with people who love to teach little ones how to be nice and treat others with respect. Start when your children are surrounded by role models who want them to succeed and want them to grow. Start when you know everyone else is learning and making mistakes too. Not just the kids, but the parents and teachers too.

None of us are perfect, after all.

Sad Face

But what if he notices he’s the ONLY one without parents there? Won’t he be sad?

First, I need to state that I promise your child will not be the ONLY child whose parents do not come. I’ve been at this many years now and I know my kids aren’t the only ones.

Second, maybe you’re a first time parent sending your oldest to Kindergarten. Maybe you’re a seasoned parent sending your last little one to school. But listen closely my friends, there is a never-ending amount of comparisons to come!

“Suzie has a better backpack than me!…Jack’s mom comes to read to us every single week…Penelope’s mom has a nicer car than yours…Sam told me he got an iPhone X for his 5th birthday…”

I wish I was kidding with some of these, but they’re all very true. The comparisons are just getting started my friends. This is a great opportunity to tell your child (before they leave for school) how much you love them and how you cannot wait to hear how great their first day of school went!

It’s time to let go and let them be their own person. It’s time to let them make new friends and fall down on the playground. They’ll get back up, I promise. It’s time to let them be wild and free.

You did it, by the way! You raised them to have the confidence to be independent.

Hooray, You Did It!

Hooray! You’re Raising Independent Children!

So maybe you have some irrational thoughts to work through or some teacher profiling to do before the first day of school, but please don’t feel like you HAVE to do everything everyone else is doing. I don’t and I can safely say my children are happy, productive, and pretty dang independent.

Also, please don’t feel like you’ve failed as a parent just because you didn’t show up with a child who’s picture perfect (with monogrammed everything) after you took the perfect picture in front of the perfect chalkboard drawing. All of that stuff doesn’t matter anyway.

What matters is that you told your kid that you love them, you hope they have fun on their first day, and that you give them a big ole hug and a kiss. Everything else won’t matter to them. I promise.

Keep it up Rookies! We all have to start somewhere!

– Krystal

Why I DON’T Walk My Kids Into School, NOT EVEN in Kindergarten

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HI, I'M Krystal Proffitt

Podcast coach, content strategist, best-selling author, lifelong cheerleader, and content marketer

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