My son started Kindergarten this week… I can not believe I just wrote that. Where did all the time go? He went to pre-school last year, so this shouldn’t be such a shock, but now he’s gone all day long instead of just 3 hours. Myself and my younger son, who is 3, dropped off big brother this morning for his second day of kindergarten. We stood there watching him walk off with his “big boy” backpack, turning around saying “BYE MOM”, realizing that he was heading in without hesitation. Meanwhile, my 3-year-old and I look at each other and wonder, what do we do now. It’s always been the 3 of us, mom and her 2 boys ready to conquer the world. My 3-year-old looks up at me with a sad face, after he said bye baby 20 times – he calls his “older” brother baby, don’t ask. He looks at me with those giant, sad eyes, and tells me that he’s going to miss baby. That’s when it hit me, how do we adjust when older brother goes back to school?
I hadn’t thought about how it might affect little brother, I just figured he’d enjoy the piece and quiet of not fighting with his brother every 2 seconds. As the day went on, little brother kept asking when we would be picking up baby. Is it time yet, is it time yet? I kept reassuring him that we would see him at the end of the school day, and promising that we would all spend some time together. So, it got my brain thinking about different ways to help myself, and little brother cope with big brother being gone all day now, 5 days a week. I came up with these simple, yet effective, plans of action.
- Keep up with Traditions: Continue to go to that park you visit every day, just as the two of you. Take him out to lunch every Wednesday like you did over summer break. Show little brother that not all things have to change.
- Preparation: Avoid the mess all together and prepare your kids for the change. Talk about it all summer long, drive by the school, and tell them how big brother will be going to school soon and won’t be home all day. Do this repeatedly throughout the summer.
- Play Dates: Prepare younger sibling for being apart from their older brother/sister. Schedule play dates, times at daycare, or with grandparents by themselves so they get used to it being just them, away from older sibling. Same goes for after big brother goes back to school. Continue these play dates to highlight the one on one time they get to receive.
- New Routine: Just because things have changed, doesn’t mean things are bad. Start new traditions or routines with your little one. After you drop off older sibling at school, maybe go to a new park every day. Run errands together and make a game out of it. Show them that you can still have fun without older sibling.
In the end, we all adjust and cope with changes, but having tips and tools to utilize before, during and after never hurts.