Tuesday, March 31, 2015

We Registered for Kindergarten Today

Just like that, my baby is growing up.  A few weeks ago she had a dental check-up (No cavities- Yay!).  We had her kindergarten physical today (she's growing well and is overall pretty healthy).  I filled out a pile of forms and turned everything in today.  She's officially on the list for kindergarten for the school down the street.     

Sure, she's been in preschool for the past two years, but that doesn't really count as "real school" to me.  Preschool has been great, but it's been a very sheltered environment where she pretty much goes to play for a few hours three days a week.  After agonizing over where to send her, we decided kindergarten is going to be in our local, public school.  And it's going to be all day long.  That's the part I don't like. 

Where we live, there are no half-day options.  Every kindergarten is all day long.  I guess I should clarify what I mean by all day long.  The students start school at 8:15 and the kindergarten is out at 1:15.  The rest of the school gets out at 2:45.  So while it's not exactly all day, it is including lunch time.  To me, that's a really long time.  This Mommy is not happy.  My little baby is not going to be able to eat lunch with me every day.  Instead, she'll be exposed to who knows what from her peers at school.

I've worked public schools.  I know that there are not so good things that kids talk about and introduce other kids to.  I was rather hoping to keep my daughter in a nice little bubble for as long as possible.  I know it's not feasible, but as a parent I think it's important to determine when they can be introduced to certain topics.  Now I'm going to pray about what to say and prepare myself for her to come home and ask random questions. 

On the other hand, she will be able to make new, local friends.  Our current preschool is in the next town, so planning any playdates is a bigger ordeal than just bringing her somewhere in the neighborhood.  Plus, when she makes new friends, I get to make new friends.  I'm one of those moms who wants to know the families of who my children hang out with. 

I also plan to volunteer in her kindergarten classroom as often as I can.  I hope to set up a regular schedule and coordinate with maybe another mom to watch my children once a week or so.  I'm excited to be involved and let another teacher be in charge.

It should be a great experience, but I still can't believe it's here already.  Well, technically I have through the summer and until August before she actually starts, but it's getting closer.  Until then, I'll be treasuring our lunches together.       

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Television Tuesday

I am one of those parents who is not a fan of screen time for the kids.  This means television, iPad, phone, video games,  etc.  I think children spend too much time in front of screens when they should  be outside in the fresh air, or moving around and doing imaginative play without the help of some electronic.

Do I think it is all bad?   No.  I think there is some usefulness in it.  I know certain shows are educational and definitely help teach the kids.  Video games and iPad apps can help with critical thinking skills and learning how to navigate technology, which will definitely be important for them to know in the future.

However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under age two should avoid television and other media.   On top of that, studies have shown that all that screen time can lead to behavioral and developmental issues later on.  These are things that I would like to avoid. 

With that being said, if I had a little more willpower, my children would probably watch a lot less television than they do.  Meaning, zero hours per week, or maybe only a movie once a month or so.    My oldest is now five and has seen quite a few Disney movies and is up to date on the popular Disney Junior shows.  Since she is usually in the same room as her sister, my two-year old gets a lot more screen time than her sister ever did at that age.  

I have a love/hate relationship with the television.  When I am having a rough pregnancy day, I can turn it on and know the children will stay occupied in one spot and I can veg out for a bit until I feel better or I think their brains have been reasonably fried.  Seriously, this thing is like a drug.  My oldest will sit in front of it for as long as we have it on.  That's just her personality.  My youngest will also sit for a bit to watch, but doesn't stay for quite as long.  It tends to turn them both into little zombies.  


In an effort to limit the television usage, we have instituted "Television Tuesday."  Tuesday is the only morning we don't have a specific place we are supposed to be, so the girls get to watch TV in the morning when they wake up.  They LOVE it.  They wake up in the morning shouting "TV! TV!"  Apparently Mommy isn't that exciting.  

We have a few other occasional television times, such as when they watch a movie or cartoon together in the evening with Daddy.  Or when somebody is sick and needs to rest on the couch (although my oldest will try to pretend that she is sick a lot, so she can watch TV.  But we are on to her).  

Am I being overprotective?  Maybe.  I think my husband thinks I am a little crazy.  Although I think they still watch way more TV than they need to, when they could be playing with toys or running around outside.  However, they are pretty happy with the current situation, so we will see how it goes.