(RE) Introduction to Kindergarten Etiquette

We have hit a major milestone at the Porter House as our oldest son has started Kindergarten. It comes with a mixed bag of emotions for the entire family that range from fear and excitement as we all meet new people and get into a comfortable daily routine.

We are all trying to get to bed earlier and wake up earlier as we aim to hit the drop off line right at 8am. We have made it every day with varying degrees of running. Part of our new routine for us involves introducing life skills to our son who is setting the foundation for his future one recess, story time and activity at a time.

As we talk through ways to navigate kindergarten with our son I realize these are things that most adults can brush up on and it would make the world a better place. Here are a few of the lessons we are working on that apply to all age ranges.

Don’t be afraid to be you. This is a good lesson at any age. Our instinct is to try to fit in but we also have a drive to keep our own sense of personality and style. While talking over the day my son got quiet and then said “Someone at sack said they did not like my lunchbox.” This was his favorite Star Wars lunchbox and he was devastated. We quickly talked through the concept that not everyone will like what you like and that is OK. When it comes down to it you need to be happy with your choices and not let others sway your decisions. If you want a Star Wars lunchbox then you should have one.

As adults we work hard to conform, we read magazines about how to dress, what to eat and where to be seen. We worry about the perception of others constantly and are quick to get in line with what others are doing around us. We forget that it is our life and happiness comes from within and not what others think of our actions.

If you can’t do something by yourself ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength. While we are big fans of teaching our son independence and how to do the basics by himself like get dressed in the morning and using the bathroom unassisted we are also trying to balance that with being able to ask for help from those around you. We hit this lesson when discussing that his shoe came untied at school and he went the remainder of the morning without asking the teacher to help tie the shoe.

I see people struggle with this at all levels in life and I admit I struggle with this one. Admitting we need help gains valuable insight from others and ultimately helps us learn new skills. It is ok to seek advice from others outside of typing your question into Google.

Be Nice. I will repeat this lesson because it applies to everyone. Be nice. We are lucky in the sense our son has a very nurturing instinct and wants to help others. He likes to play and include others, he has seen me open the door for his mother and now insists on holding the door whenever he can for her.

I live this lesson daily, as part of my morning routine is to hit the gym on the way to the office. When working out I occasionally get mean looks and specifically guys will look at me as if I am some sort of competition. All I do is smile back and say good morning. Sometimes that changes their expression and sometimes it does not. I am at the gym for my health and overall well-being, nothing else. Just be nice and realize that others are just trying to get through the day, and in this case workout routine, without hurting themselves or others.

How To Deal With Bullies. While it is good to be nice to everyone, if someone is mean the best thing to do is not to play with him or her. Navigating recess for my son involves playing in the schoolyard with a range of age groups and personalities. Not everyone will be nice, he will encounter a few bullies and how to deal with those situations will be critical in his early development. We have discussed if someone takes a ball / jumps in line on the slide, say something. Odds are they are not thinking about their actions and will hand the ball back or let you go down the slide. Others will go ahead with what they want to do anyways and in those cases it is best to just walk away and play with people who are nice.

If someone you work for is not being nice, work somewhere else or address the situation head on. Ignoring the person does nothing but allow them to continue their behaviors, intentional or not, and validate their actions. Bite the bullet and take charge of your team even if you are not the one directly in charge as bullies come in all shapes and sizes and you should not associate yourself with bullies.

These are a few of the ongoing lessons my son is learning and I am re-learning as we get comfortable with our new daily routines. While they are all seemingly common sense to those looking at the list people tend to get caught up in the grind and forget the basics. Listening the lessons I am working through with my son has given me a fresh perspective on life as I hope it does for you.

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