Kindergarten Meltdown

Written by dad - 5 Comments

After a seemingly successful transition into the new school year, our kindergartner had a meltdown right as the bus pulled up to pick up the boys this morning. The long days have been taking a toll on him, and he’s recently begun asking if he can stay home and go back to sleep. Obviously, that’s not an option, so we’ve hustled him off to school every morning right on schedule.

A big part of the problem is that, even though the boys don’t need to be at school until 7:45 AM, the bus comes at 7:00 AM. The trouble with this is that ours is among the last stops of the morning, meaning that the boys get to school half an hour earlier than they need to be there. Believe me, an extra half hour of sleep would make a huge difference to a kindergartner adjusting to his new routine. We’ve tried to compensate by moving up bedtime, but there’s only so much you can do on that end — as it is, the boys are in bed by 7:30 PM on school nights.

Unfortunately, we’re not really in a position to complain… The district’s response will be that some of the kids on the same route get picked up as early as 6:25 AM, so 7:00 AM is fantastic by those standards. Moreover, the elementary, middle and high school start times and somewhat condensed, so they have to start the elementary bus routes God-awful early or the buses wouldn’t be able to make their next scheduled run. As an aside, this is totally backwards from the school scheduling we had when I was a kid — back then, high school started earliest, junior high started next, and elementary school kicked off last at 9:00 AM.

Anyway, back to the story at hand… Right as the bus came into view, Son #3 hustled back up the driveway to his mom and started pitching a fit about not wanting to go to school. I grabbed his hand and led him down the bus, but it was still a no go. Even after I picked him up and set him on the top step of the bus he tried scrambling past me, tears in his eyes. Ultimately, mom came to the rescue, scooped him up (after a struggle) and deposited him in a window seat, blocked into place by Son #2.

Between Son #2 barfing on the bus on the first day of school and this, I’m hoping that the worst is behind us.

Published on August 20th, 2007 - 5 Comments
Filed under: Daily Life,Education
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Comments (scroll down to add your own):

  1. Is there any chance of you or your husband taking them to school? I ask as my son’s overall behavior & grades improved greatly when I stopped allowing the school bus or my employer’s schedule be the main drivers of his morning.

    None of us in this family are morning people and as little as 15min extra sleep pays off tremendously in terms of patience and performance both at work and at home.

    It wasn’t easy & does involve some sacrifices regarding finances & time. However, no longer having a child falling asleep in school (even with a 7:30pm bedtime) or worse, getting in various forms of trouble directly related to tiredness has been well worth it.

    Comment by ammb — Aug 21st 2007 @ 5:09 pm
  2. I didn’t take a bus in kindergarten, but in 1st-4th grade, I had to be outside for the bus at 6:30am, which got me to school at about 7:30; school started at 8. I just napped on the bus and in the classroom before school started (the lower grades usually had comfy chairs, rugs, and/or blankets).

    Even though it’s inconvenient for your family, I’m happy to hear your district is bucking the trend and having highschool start latest in the day. Older teenagers actually need more sleep than preteens, and their bodies seem to be programmed to go to bed later and sleep in later. My highschool started at 7:30am, and none of my peers could get enough sleep. We would be zombies through at least the first half of the day, every day.

    Solutions: ammb already suggested taking Son #3 to school yourselves, if that extra 15 minutes would help. Maybe just on days when he seems particularly tired? Alternatively, you could suggest a short nap in the afternoon, maybe right after coming home.

    Comment by Anitra — Aug 22nd 2007 @ 4:04 pm
  3. Thanks for your suggestions. Driving him to school is one possible solution, although we haven’t given up on him adjusting to the new schedule. Our older two kids went through a major adjustment to the rigors of all-day kindergarten, but ultimately adjusted to their new schedule and thrived.

    Comment by dad — Aug 22nd 2007 @ 4:15 pm
  4. Driving him to school is an option, but I think holding out for him to get adjusted to the routine is a better one. I know it is tough but he will have to do it sooner or later right? Great site by the way and thanks for visiting LifeIsRisky.

    Comment by Susan — Aug 22nd 2007 @ 4:29 pm
  5. I think every parent has this meltdown episode, especially on the first days of school. It’s always heartbreaking to see them cry when the bus comes. But children adjust pretty fast, I hope your son will not cry anymore soon.

    BTW, I will include this post in next week’s edition of the carnival of family life (I am hosting).

    Comment by Grace — Aug 26th 2007 @ 12:58 am

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