5 Thoughts Every Mom Has at Kindergarten Orientation

I just went to the first half of my daughter's kindergarten orientation. As I walked into the school, it felt so huge compared to her preschool. I couldn't believe that after three years of being in preschool day in and day out for most of the time, very long days, she would now call another place "home."

That saying that "babies don't keep" is so true. It seemed like just yesterday she was refusing to nap without her mama, curled up on my chest, asleep at the breast. And now there she is, running down the elementary school hallways in which she will meet "the big scary world for the first time."

As we register those children for kindergarten, there are a few thoughts every mom has before we put our little one on the bus for that very first time.

This Place Is Too Big For My Baby
Columbia Pictures

This Place Is Too Big For My Baby

As you tour the school, you're thinking, "Are you sure this place is for kindergartners?"

My daughter's preschool felt so insular and intimate. The same teachers have been there for years, and the school felt small. When we visited her elementary school, it was welcoming and colorful also, but it felt so large! I couldn't fathom that the little child I once wore on my front and back could now exist in such a place. But still, when I look at her, that tiny child is not so tiny anymore. That little being is growing more powerful and independent by the minute. Kindergarten is a milestone, and each mom feels it: our kids are entering a brand-new independent phase. The cozy world of preschool is far behind.

Is That Going to Be My Kid's Teacher?

Is That Going to Be My Kid's Teacher?

When you meet the teachers, you wonder to yourself, "Which teacher is the mean one of the group?"

As the three kindergarten teachers were introduced, I found myself inspecting each and every one. Would that be my child's teacher next year?

I acted as if I were psychic, listening and watching each teacher's every move trying to determine if she were strict, kind, fun, organized, etc. Every mom is wondering: who will be my kid's teacher, and will he or she give my kid the best kindergarten experience? As silly as it sounds — it's not like you learn rocket science in kindergarten — it's our kiddo's first introduction to "real" school, and we want our children to have a great first impression. As we all know, a first impression can last a lifetime, and the fact is, our kids have many years to be in school, and so we want them to love it.

Is This Place Safe?

Is This Place Safe?

Looking around the school you wonder, "Is this place safe?"

Even if you're a cool cucumber as a parent, the idea of stranger danger seems to rear its ugly head when you realize: My kid is going on a bus. My kid is going to be away from me and the sweet comfort of preschool.

It's not that strangers don't approach preschoolers, but more often than not, I hear a story of kids being approached at school dismissal before the buses leave and/or kids getting approached at the park again, and again . . . and sadly, again.

And it's not just "those creepy strangers" we moms worry about. We wonder how the strangers — peers and teachers — will treat our child. Will they like our kid? Will they see all the lovely things that we appreciate about our child? Will they forgive our child for all the not-so-lovely things he or she may bring to the table as a person?

This Seems Like a LOT of Work

This Seems Like a LOT of Work

If the school principal or vice principal speaks, you wonder if elementary school is really as much homework as everyone says it is . . . that much for a kindergartner? Really?

Some find themselves worried about all the homework and instruction their child is now expected to keep up with. Others worry their little ones will be bored and not challenged at all.

What will homework be like? How will my child enjoy learning? What if my child struggles to read? What if my child, a good reader, is bored or put to the wayside?

And then: What about Common Core? The nightmare stories I have heard about my friends struggling to help their kids with their homework makes me wonder if my Ivy League degree is even applicable to help my kid with an elementary school worksheet!

Moms think, "Will I be able to keep up with all the activities, schoolwork, housework, and my job or with the other kids at home?"

You're beginning to wonder if school hasn't become too much work.

Will My Child Find Their Way?

Will My Child Find Their Way?

Let's not forget the social fears. We want so much for our kids and their school experience. It's not simply about grades but about socializing.

Will my son cry every day at drop-off? Will my kid make friends? Will my child make friends easily? Will he or she be bullied? Will he or she be a bully? How can I help my shy child "bloom"?

As you're looking at all the many children your child will be attending kindergarten with, you'll find yourself wondering, "Which one of these kids will my child love? Or not love so much?"

As we left that first half of kindergarten orientation, I was overjoyed to see that my daughter zipped away from me to explore the school and then at the end was excited to come back and return to the school in the Fall. In my mind, I mentally hugged all the little ones who tearfully went off to explore the school with a teacher, leaving Mom and Dad behind. In my heart, I reminded myself how fast time has flown, and I promised myself to slow down and savor the moments with my child more.

Like I said before, babies don't keep.