Sep 17, 2010

Adjusting to Kindergarten: Desperate for a Routine

Today is the last day of our first week of kindergarten, and I am desperate to get into a routine. Because once I have a routine for school, then I can create a routine for myself. This first week has really been about adjusting to kindergarten and definitely not about me adjusting to not working.

I am trying to get the timing down for our morning routine - when Alex should eat breakfast so that he's not hungry well before morning snack time at school, how long it takes me to pack his snack and lunch, how long it takes to put on sunscreen, how long it takes us to walk to school, etc.

The biggest adjustment I have had to make is in packing snack and lunch. I packed his lunch every day for preschool (see my previous bento posts here), but after the first day, when he came home with half his lunch still in his lunch box, I remembered something I'd read over at Lunch in a Box last year: kindergartners have a lot less time to eat than preschoolers.

Back in preschool, lunch was a leisurely affair. Since most of the older kids don't need naps, lunch time often lasted an hour. The kids all ate at their own pace, and it was a fun, relaxing time - especially during the summer, when the class ate outside. They could even be noisy, since they didn't have to worry about waking the younger kids who were sleeping.

Now, though, the kinder kids seem to get forty-five minutes to eat and use the bathroom. (I'm not clear on whether there's any play time during this period.) Alex came home on Wednesday with his container of fruit untouched, so I decided to try something different yesterday: I packed his fruit in his snack instead. And he ate it.

I'm packing smaller lunches now, and trying to think of foods that he can eat quickly while avoiding foods that take more time, like anything that requires assembly (such as homemade "Lunchable"-style kits). I need to pick up a small thermos that can keep foods warm, so I can pack some chicken nuggets, pizza and pasta. He's been pretty hungry in the afternoon when he gets home from school, so I think I will increase the size of his morning snack next week (he's always been able to finish the snack).

Homework starts next week, and that will probably require another adjustment. I am hoping to tackle homework together right after his snack so that it's done by dinner time. Is it too much to hope that by the end of next week, I'll be feeling settled in? :)


Christina @ Northern Cheapskate said...

Oh, how I can relate to this post! Our oldest just started kindergarten this year, and it's been adjustment!

We iive deep in the woods, so I have to put my boy on the bus at 6:45 a.m..... which means we all have to be awake (and functioning!) much earlier).... then he doesn't get home until 4:30 p.m.... so we've had to adjust our evening schedule, too.

I'm desperate to find a groove... it just feels like I'm scrambling to do even the most basic of things each day.

On the plus side, he loves school (and suprisingly) the bus ride! So that helps!

I look forward to any more insight you have on this topic!

Aviva said...

I can relate too, although I don't have any advice to share! One of the problems we've been dealing with is the adjustment from a "regular" preschool to a private Jewish school, which closes for way more autumn holidays than I'd ever realized were "no work" days. It'll be October before my daughter has a full, five-day week of school.

We're also adjusting to the whole pack a lunch and two snacks thing. We did a trial run of it all for two weeks during summer camp and could not send enough food along for her not to devour it all. But we're three (partial) weeks in to the school year, and all of a sudden it's like she's barely eating. Yes, they only get 30 minutes to eat lunch, but it's the same deal she had at preschool & camp. And we never spend a full 30 minutes at a meal at home, so I don't think that's the issue for her ...

I wonder if part of it is that they spend more of their day at more "academic" activities and less at physical ones, so she's not burning as many calories and not getting as hungry? So many mysteries!

Chief Family Officer said...

@Christina & Aviva - I hope you're starting to find a rhythm! I think we're getting there, so I'll write more next week :)