10 Lessons Learned (The Hard Way!) About Having A Kid In Pre-K.

Now that my little guy has been attending pre-K for nine solid weeks, I think it's time for an update about Pre-K life.

I'm pleased to say, after about three weeks, Ollie fell into the routine of school really well. He LOVES his teachers, and they love him.

When it comes to him adjusting to school life, he's been a champ. As for me... not so much.

There's a lot going on in "big" school. The structure, rules, activities and even parents, are NOTHING like to easy days of our Church's, 'Mother's Day Out Program.'  Oh no, school is full of rules and surprises for first-time parents.

Below are ten lessons I learned the hard way about having a child in Pre-K. If you're a first-time parent, this may scare you a little. It's OK; it scared me too...

1. Pre-K is real school. Our Pre-K class is in the same school as grades k-8. So every morning, we join the large flow of kids entering the school. It's kind of chaotic. Parents and kids rushing through the doors. The parents are trying to get in and out as fast as possible. My kid is clinging to me for dear life.

Even though he likes school, we still do this sort of song-and-dance at drop-off where he clings to me and begs for one more hug or kiss. It's totally a toddler manipulation tactic.

2. There are field trips. On school buses. Without seat belts. Seriously. It's so freaking ridiculous to me that children are riding around on buses without seat belts. #Dumbassery

3. There are Parent/Teacher conferences. With progress reports.  Being that I half-expected my kid to be thrown out of school in the first few weeks, after all, he is FTD's Mini-me, I expected an earful at Ollie's Parent Teacher Conference. Much to my disappointment, we didn't get it. (Look for post tomorrow on that. It deserves its own post.)

4. There's a snack rotation. Once a month, I'm responsible for bringing in a snack for 21 kids. The pressure was almost too much to stand the first time. I had NO CLUE what to get. Or how much. I also didn't want to get a crap snack that was going to embarrass my three-year-old. You know, because somehow that would scar him for life.

I spent WAY too much time thinking about it.

5.  Drop-off and pick-up are non-negotiable. School starts at 8:30 and ends when your child is scheduled to be picked up. Don't screw it up.

6. There's a PTO.  I can barely keep up with my kid's events and engagements, no way can I join a committee that plans and puts on every single one. Plus, those moms kind of scare me a little.

7. The nurturing is still there. I was incredibly concerned about my little three-year-old going to school so soon.  Yes, he's smart, and I know starting school early was the best thing, but he still needs to be held and nurtured. I needed to know that if he cried he would be held and soothed. Thankfully, he is. Very much so.  I'm so thankful for this.

8. The Fundraising is RIDICULOUS! Holy crap!  Every week it's a different fundraising program! And what's worse, the school wants me to sell shit!  No. No. No. I am not peddling coupon books. I am not selling raffle tickets. And I'm sure as hell not letting my kid go door-to-door to peddle Christmas paper.

9. Find a fellow friend. Find a well-seasoned buddy to help you navigate PRE-K is essentials. I would be screwed without my two been-there-done-that mom friends. Both have a kid in Ollie's class and are a wealth of knowledge and comfort.

10. Read EVERYTHING that's sent home. Between the field trips, wear RED Fridays, Principle newsletters, Fall Festivals, field trips... read them all. I didn't read everything the first month. Which was a fail.  I missed events, wear red Friday, and nearly missed our first snack day! Talk about epic a$$hole mom fail! Read. Everything.

I'm here to tell you, Pre-K is big business and a major learning experience for both child and parents. I had no idea how much would be expected of both of us. The constant stream of school events and Pre-K class programs, takes a bit of work to keep up with.

Sure, I suppose I could drop my kid off, and be done with it, but then I'd be missing out on such a monumental time in my child's life. Plus, I don't to send the message that my son's education is not important to me. Because, it's beyond important to me. 

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com