I Send My Child to Preschool Every Day…And I Still Let Him Be Little

I Send My Child to Preschool Every Day...And I Still Let Him Be Little | Houston Moms Blog

A week ago, I kissed my just-turned three year old and gently nudged him into a warm, welcoming classroom for his first day of preschool. His teachers greeted us enthusiastically, with a promise of a great day ahead. After making sure my little guy knew where to place his lunch and hang his backpack, I happily made my way to Starbucks for a celebratory latte. There were no tears or mom-guilt. My little one, my last baby, will be going to preschool 5 days a week this year. His two older siblings are in elementary school, and this preschool schedule perfectly clicks with our family’s current season of life.

Sure, I’ve heard the gentle warnings of Let them be little and You’ll never regret the time you spend with your children when they are young. I know They grow up so fast and They have SO MANY years to be in school. I know. But to this I say :: 

My Child Can Go to School Every Day and Still Be Little  

The whole point of preschool is age appropriate learning activities and social skills. They do have so many years to be in school, but I hope all of those years contribute to their curiosity, love of learning, and life-giving friendships. Why not start this as early as possible? 

Preschool does not make children any less little. I specifically chose a play-based preschool, where my three year old learns through hands-on activities, crafts, music, and PLAY. He’s not doing drills, worksheets, or staring at screens. He’s learning manners, how to get along with others, and trust other adults besides me and his dad. His little brain and body are being challenged and engaged for more than 25 hours a week, but there’s space for his emotions, his potty training accidents, and his tears. He’s still little, even at school.

I Do What I Can, and Outsource the Rest

One of the most humbling lessons I’ve learned as a parent is there are some things I’m just not good at, and a lot of things I just don’t want to do. I can read books, draw pictures, ride bikes and play ball like a champ, but ask me to sit on the floor and pretend play with action figures or baby dolls? I’d rather fold 18 loads of laundry. There are some moms who are born to stay at home with their kids day after day, planning engaging, creative, educational activities for them. I’m not one of them. Honestly, I get bored with the early childhood education stuff far too quickly than I care to admit. So, I outsource it to the unsung heroes who are preschool teachers. I happily fork over my son’s tuition so people significantly more qualified than me can teach him the color wheel, and then clean up the inevitable mess that comes from three year olds learning to make purple by mixing blue and red paint. 

I Won’t Regret Taking Time Away to Care for Myself

I am a highly sensitive introvert, and am not the best version of myself when I don’t respect this unchangeable aspect of my personality. I absolutely regret some of the things I’ve said and done with my children when I’ve had endless hours with them. Admittedly, I am 100% a better parent when I have large chunks of time to myself to rest, recharge and feed my own passions. Also, I don’t want my entire identity to be wrapped up in mothering. I love to work, and my part-time job {during preschool hours} gives me the flexibility to achieve goals and contribute financially to my family.

My Family Thrives on Routine

We all do much better when almost every morning, we have the same schedule. My children know we get up, eat breakfast, put clothes on, and go to school. My preschooler has adapted easily to this routine, and him having clear expectations of how his day unfolds has made mornings significantly easier than last year’s every-other-day school week. We talk about our jobs for the day- Mommy and Daddy’s job is to go to work, and the kids’ job is to go to school. Then, after school and work, we have plenty of time to be together, play, and talk about everything we learned.

I Send My Child to Preschool Every Day...And I Still Let Him Be Little | Houston Moms Blog

If I had a general parenting philosophy, it would be whatever works. No two kids have the same personality and no two families have the same dynamics. So mama, YOU DO YOU. Don’t let anyone tell you what’s best for your family, because no one knows better than you what’s really going to make your family thrive. 

 

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