Thursday, August 11, 2011

Owl Always Love You

Small Plush Owl Riley Blake

Guy starts Kindergarten in less than two weeks.  


I am happy to say that I received a lot of very direct answers to some questions that I had while visiting the temple back in February, and that is putting my mind at ease about a few things.  I am glad that I wrote those answers down, because I have referred to them often.  

But now I'd love to hear any advice or tips that you Moms might have for me that would help make this next year of entering school for the first time not only a smooth transition, but also just the best experience possible for all of us.

I know you've got lots to share, so PLEASE advise!

Leave me your best mom-to-mom advice, tips, traditions, school lunch ideas, etc. in a comment on this post and be entered to win a sweet little softie owl from the Etsy shop I SEW LUCKY

Wouldn't you just love to tuck one of these owls inside someone's backpack on the first day of school?  
Well here's your chance!

Thanks in advance for sharing your words of wisdom with me!

(I will pick a winner on Monday morning.)


  1. There is just so much. Most of it you will figure out as you go because it will be specific to you, your children and their teachers. My son's kindergarten teacher started the school year with this, "I promise not to believe everything your child says happens at home if you promise not to believe everything they say about school." That totally works. We've had to teach our 11yo son that what his friends say isn't always true. (Presidents or Founding Fathers or what not don't always do what little boy minds come up with.) But the biggest thing I've learned and done is this.

    I volunteered. I spent a day a week from first grade on in the classroom. I've been room mom for 4 years. I even spent a couple of years being a substitute teacher at his school. I went on the field trips. I worked in Primary in the ward. I KNOW these kids. These are the kids that influence my child. These are the kids who make choices that may or may not be in line with what I'm teaching. My house is the house the neighborhood kids come to if something is wrong. Not their moms next door or around the corner. They fall off a bike and they come here. My waist is the one hugged at parent teacher conferences. I get smiles and waves and hi's at the local WalMart. The kids know me. They know I'm on their side. But they also know I'm Bart's mom. And if they're doing something they shouldn't oughta be doing, I will correct them. And they're good with that.

    So the biggest advice I have for you... Volunteer and spend time at the school. The kids will get to know you and love you and you can have a better chance at monitoring what your sweet ones are doing and experiencing.

    Good luck.

  2. I think the smartest thing a mom can do is be in the classroom as a volunteer. There's nothing like seeing how the room works, up close and personal...and getting a feel for how the teacher interacts with his or her students.

    The other thing I always did was make sure the kids finished their homework before going out to play. This avoided late nights and tired, cranky kids doing homework at all hours.

    Finally, love notes in the lunch boxes now and then. And a chance at the dinner table to tell the most memorable thing that happened at school that day.

    I suspect, knowing you, that you have plenty of ideas of your own...probably better ones!


    PS. And yes, those little owls are adorable!

  3. I always remembered that my mom would have us a new school outfit for the first day along with a homemade lunch and that we always took a first day of school picture. Then when we came home she was there to listen to how it went. Always knowing that my mom cared and loved us made school alright :) We also had to do our homework before we could play and then it was nice to have a completely relaxing evening with no homework to worry about!

    I am soo glad I have a few more years before I start the 'school years' good luck! I am sure it will be great!!

  4. We always went for a breakfast on the first day of school. Usually it was donuts. It always got my mind off it for a while. Then my mom would walk in with us, take pictures. Also either the morning of or the night before mt dad would give all of us Father's Blessing. I looked forward to those every year! Even when I left for college. I hope its a smooth tranistion for everyone! Good luck :)

  5. I just typed a big long comment and then our power flicked off (we're having a thunder storm) and I lost it!!! Aaghh!

    So here's the jist of it. I love having some one-on-one time with my son after school but I've found that I get a lot more out of him if I wait a few hours. Right after school he just wants to relax.

    A lot of parents can volunteer in the classroom but I have 3 other little ones at home so it just doesn't work out. I do however volunteer to go on field trips. It gives me a chance to meet other parents and get to know my son's friends. I also go to the class parties (where younger siblings are welcome).

  6. Oh! And the Monday before school starts we have a big "back to school" feast... we introduce our family theme for the school year and have father's blessings.

  7. In addition to children receiving a blessing, the Mama needs one too. We jot down notes about what Heavenly Father has warned and promised. Any advise given this year applies for me next. My son is so excited to be a high school boy and maybe a kindergartener he mentioned today at breakfast.

    My Auntie has a brag board in her house about what they did at school. It can involve A. & S. too. It is a great place for Daddy to check in as he comes in the door for a moment to know what to ask at the dinner table.

  8. One idea that my kids have enjoyed is packing lunch in bento boxes. We don't get terribly artistic and create scenes or anything, but it's amazing how much they prefer sandwiches cut into smaller shapes or a variety of fruits and veggies in smaller quantities. Not to mention, they're more nutritious than a lot of typical sack lunch foods.
    Volunteering in the classroom is great, too. Get involved in PTA/PTO. You meet lots of other parents and stay up-to-date on what's happening at the school.

  9. It probably goes without saying, but make sure you have a routine for getting ready in the mornings. Some of my kids have done best when they have a checklist they can refer to each morning. Others just like knowing what needs to be done and get it done on their own time. You'll figure out what works for you, whether it's scheduling breakfast for this 15 minutes, get dressed in this 10 minutes, etc.; or even just setting the timer and saying "Now we're going to do this in x number of minutes."

  10. Some of what I'll say has already been posted here, but here goes.
    A father's blessing, walk through the school beforehand, make lunch together, put a special note in as a surprise, walk (if you can) to school together, don't be late picking up :), go on fieldtrips, and we stress to not worry, listen to your teacher. Guy will be a champ, and may need a little down time after his first day. Go Guy!!

  11. It has been a while since I have had a child go to school; but my memories of this time are priceless.
    I would say walk with them to the bus if they have to catch one. Be prompt when picking him up; little ones get scared easily. I know you already know that. Just enjoy the moments each day as you review his experiences for the day.
    Be involved in the school PTA or helping in the class.
    Blessings to you and just keep on enjoying the moments.

  12. My mom did a lot of the things mentioned here, but one other thing she did that hasn't been mentioned yet is she would have a little snack for us when we got home from school. Then we'd all sit down together, enjoy the food and chat about what had happened at school. Then it was time for homework.

  13. wow, lots of good advice-I'm glad those days are gone as I'm a retired mother but I do miss the interaction so I'd say enjoy each moment even the challenges cause they're soon only memories of long!

  14. I agree with all of the comments above. One thing that I did with my kiddos was read to them 'The Kissing Hand' the night before they went to school. It is a sweet story about a little racoon's first day of school that really helped my kiddos - but be prepared, it still makes me cry every time I read it. There is something the mama does that helps her little one while he is away from her that my kids now do when they are at school. Even though they will be starting 2nd and 4th grade this year, we will still read this book the night before school starts. Hope this helps!

  15. Take a picture of them on the first day of school in front of your house. We have moved so much, it is fun to remember what school went with which house. Also take a picture of them at their desk each year on the first day. Lastly, let your child rise to the occation. If you expect just a little bit more from them than you think they can do, they almost always will reach that expectation, and in the end they will feel sooooo good about themselves!

  16. Oh, one more thing . . . always have your kids get dressed FIRST! You can always send them out the door with a banana in hand, teeth not brushed, hair not done, . . . . but it doesn't work as easily if they are in their PJ's! Teachers love an on time parent!

  17. I am sending my oldest to kindergarten as well. We have all day kindergarten here in OH so it makes me a little nervous but she is so excited. I decided I am going to have a day just for her to go shopping and get supplies and such. My son will go the year after her as well and so this year he will be in pre-school. I will do a special day with him also... but he starts a few weeks later. Great Advice from everyone.

  18. I celebrated the day that my daughter went to kindergarten (no tears!) but she was just an old soul in a young body so she was ready. However, in first grade she began to ride the school bus and it was SO hard for me. It was a monumental moment as a mother and I learned one incredible lesson as I saw that bus drive away. I needed to let go. It was send her off into the world and not know if she was safe until she returned. But it's part of life, and it's a good part of life and something you must have faith in to get through, and guess what? You come out better in the end.


  19. I need advice too! My daughter starts Jr. High! I think that deserves the pillow right there! Just kidding. I still remember her 1st day of kindergarten. I took LOTS of pictures! I have a plastic bin for each of my kids. I keep my favorite art pieces they've made. I also keep their little report cards. I also volunteered every week in their classes. I planned some parties too! GET INVOLVED! And each year before school starts each child receives a blessing from my husband. It's a special time. When the kids were old enough to take their lunch to school I always wrote something on their napkins. The loved it! Kindergarten is sooooo much fun!! They grow so much. He's going to have a blast! Now does anyone have any advice for Jr. High?

  20. I ate lunch with my children at school! The teachers liked having the extra pair of hands and it made my children feel special.

  21. I know it has been said a bunch of times already, but being in the classroom is one of the best things I did when my kids were in PS. Every field trip, every "special day", every activity day, every whatever the teacher needed day, I was there. I know I was sometimes a pain, but I think being as involved as you possibly can makes it a better experience for both of you. (and yes, I did it pregos, with new babies and with toddlers)

    Another thing we do every year, even now as HS, we have a celebration at the end of the year. We call it ice cream supper, and we eat only ice cream (and it's toppings) for supper that night. We have friends and family over and have a big sundae bar and lots of laughs. It makes for a great tradition to end the year with lots of fun.

  22. One year we took 2nd Day of School pictures since the first day is always so busy. It always made people chuckle when I told them. when my oldest started kindergarten, the teacher requested that parents not walk into the classroom with them. Say good-bye outside the door and let them be independent and feel grown up to walk into the classroom on their own. Try not to cry until they are out of sight.
    Of course, I also have the children that nicely asked me one morning if I could stop walking them to and from school because they were old enough to do it by themselves. :( That was a bit of a tear-jerker day, too.

  23. That's funny. After a mishap with a favorite stuffed animal and the dryer, I did a search on Etsy for softie pattern and came across this shop. I hearted a few patterns and then hoped over to check up on the other Christensens. Small world.

  24. I am so glad you posted this. I too, have my oldest entering kindergarten this year. I know he is ready. But the more I think about it the more I realize that I will probably be crying on my walk home. I plan on having a special dinner for him the night before he goes to school with a special crown for him to wear. A father's blessing too. Also, we have been reading the Chronicles of Narnia for awhile now, and will probably be done with the entire set when school starts. So we have selected a new book to read and I plan on reading him a chapter right after we get home from picking him at school.

  25. Talk to your son about what he expects on the first day. My third child wanted to ride the bus on her first day of kindergarten, with her brother and sister, instead of going with me. It was hard to let go of that, but she felt so grown-up, and since she'd been in the school and met her teacher already, I let her have what she wanted.

    Have a yummy snack waiting for them when they come home! It only happens for the first day at our house (after that, they get their own), but that's enough.

  26. I think one of the best things to do is walk him to school or to and from the bus. We have found, with our last three girls that it is a time of talking, laughing and sharing that is so cherished. Also, volunteer to go as often as possible to the classroom. My girls loved it when I would come in a couple of times a week and read stories. I would find stories on the lessons that the teacher was teaching that week. The teacher loved it, and most of all, my daughters loved it. Just be there. Listen, learn, and love during the entire time. You will be surprised at how much easier it will make the transition.

  27. I think this was SUCH a good question to ask. My oldest (also a boy) starts kindergarten in two weeks too, and I am a mess every time I think of it. :( I just love my little guy to pieces, and the idea of turning him over to a mostly unknown group of people for 7 hours a day just makes my heart ache. He is excited though, so I am trying to be, too. I'm actually taking notes from what these more seasoned moms have suggested!

  28. I have a 4 kids: 13, 10, 7, and 3

    This is a random list, no rhyme or reason... just brain dumping.

    I always take my kids to school the first day (as in walk them inside) and take a picture of them with their new teacher. (Well, except my oldest has demanded that I don't since he started middle school) Okay, so that depends on what they want, but I think it's great.

    I also think routine is important. When they get home I completely focus on them. I don't have anything scheduled and I don't answer the phone or get on the computer. We sit and the table with a snack and just talk about their day. It's fresh on their minds and I think this is a great time for them to come home and know they are loved and safe here. I want to be part of it.

    I also like to sneak little notes in their backpacks, especially if they have been struggling or if a test is coming up or whatever.

    I also volunteer in each of my children's classes at the Elementary so they can see me at least once a month.

    My husband and I always make sure at least one of us comes to eat lunch at school with our child on their BIRTHDAY -- the younger ones love this.(again Gabe is now "too old" for this)

    We always have a set homework time. It helps them know what to expect and to be more structured. After our snack/visit time right after school, I always let my kids have a 30-60 minute break just to do whatever they want. They get tired from school! And then we do homework. Anyway, it works for us :)

    Good Luck, sometimes I think the school/transition thing is harder for Moms.

  29. My kids take cold lunch to school(they make it themselves!). They each have a little bin, with their name, in the pantry. Sunday evening, I fill their bins with food for the whole week of lunches (minus the things that need to be refrigerated). They are responsible for making and remembering to take their lunches each day. I've done this since my oldest was in kindergarten...along with having them be responsible to wake up to an alarm clock (never wanted to drag my kids out of bed).
    My kids care about getting to school on time..without my nagging. I love it!

  30. Last year was my son's Kindergarten year and in retrospect I realize it took ME the longest to adjust to having my oldest in school. My advice is to pace yourself, don't do too many extracurricular things after school, recognize that school is really a lot of hard work for your son and just take one day at a time. By November we had a good groove and then we added some after school swimming/gymnastics etc.

    Also I'm a huge fan of the laptop lunchboxes - we used them everyday (we have full-day Kindergarten here) and I loved them. Easy to pack, fun for the kids to have a lot of healthy variety in their lunch.

  31. I can offer no additional advice than has already been given: volunteer, walk to school, homework first, dressed and on time, etc.

    Each of my children loved kindergarten and were thrilled to go, I wasn't prepared for the empty void I felt when I got home. I cried, not because they were at school, but because time is fleeting and they were growing up so quickly (and I'm overly emotional).

    Good luck, it will be big week for us as well (one starting university, one starting high school, one starting Jr. High, and Dash is joining Brick in preschool. It will just be Loafie for parts of the day.

  32. The school child and I have a special talk about how they're growing up and how I won't always be able to be right beside them. I tell them there is someone, however, that can always be next to them - The Holy Ghost. We also have a special lunch. My children always had morning kindergarten . We read the book 'The Night Before Kindergarten'. We take a picture of their excited face either in their classroom or outside the school. Good luck! I hope you and Guy have a terrific day!

  33. All I wanted to say is that I've always been pleasantly surprised at how well they did in kindergarten. I knew they were bright, but sometimes stubborn, sometimes silly, etc, so I was a little worried about how they might behave. They really stepped up and put on their very best selves which made me so relieved. Teachers would say how well they were doing and I knew I didn't need to worry.

    We have little after school charts of things that need to be done as they come in the door... wash hands, snack, playtime, homework, reading, etc. and that routine helps a lot. Also I highly recommend laying out clothes and packing lunches the night before (if you have AM kindergarten). Mornings are always more rushed than you'd like them to be.

    From what I know of you, you'll pass this test with flying colors. :)

  34. I want to think it was you who worked with Cindy Gaspar back in the day. Remember how Cindy had each of you make up a 1st day breakfast, before the 1st day? It had bacon and french toast maybe...all ziplocked up....and you got to reheat it for the first day? That would be fun for Guy and you

  35. When my son, Sam, went off to kindergarten, I was thinking I would be traumatized, but then I became very aware, there was someone else even more sad. My daughter, Kristen, was 2 years old and she was around Sam all day long and he was her most constant buddy. Her best playmate was going off someplace fun and she didn't get to go. So we made a plan for everyone to have a job. Daddy had a job to go to, Mommy had a job taking care of the kids and house, and Kristen needed her own job, so we did extra projects with some activity books and some art projects just for her. We also had a plan every day with special snack (they loved carrots with ranch dressing then) for when Sam came home so that he could have our undivided attention to tell us about his day. Then we all went on to business as usual. Like in almost every emotional crisis, the best way out is to serve someone else. So my best advice to you is to do something special with your two little ones who aren't going to school, and then everyone can share their activities with each other when you are back together again, with a repeated sharing time when Daddy gets home. By the way, it worked, my kids start 7th and 4th grade next week, and I am still a little sad to see them go, but I have some special projects and things planned for the kid left at home (in this case me) to ease the transition.

    I hope it helps.