Now that my son’s six-week camp program has come to end, the reality that summer’s about to be over is really starting to sink in. And while I know my son is excited to go back to preschool, I have mixed feelings about the change in routine. In fact, part of me isn’t happy at all about it—namely because:
1. Preschool starts earlier in the morning than camp
Trust me, if there’s one thing I haven’t done in almost five years, it’s sleep in. I’m no stranger to getting up early, and I don’t even mind it. But somehow, no matter what I do or how early I get up, I always find myself struggling to get out the door on time. Maybe it’s because I tend to underestimate how long breakfast will take. Though my son, who’s 4.5, is pretty predictable and self-sufficient at the breakfast table, his 1.5-year-old twin sisters are not. What that means is it can take anywhere from five to 25 minutes to get the girls cleaned up after eating, and when that cleanup falls on the higher end of the spectrum, I’m almost guaranteed to be a few minutes late.
In fact, this summer, my running joke with my fellow camp moms was that I somehow managed to be exactly two minutes late almost every single day without fail. With school starting a good 30 minutes before camp, I can’t help but brace myself for an even more hectic morning routine.
2. Preschool is more structured
While the purpose of enrolling my son in camp and preschool is obviously to have him attend, there’s somehow a lot less pressure when it comes to camp attendance—meaning, if I needed or wanted to pull my son out of camp for a day (say, to visit family or go to a doctor), it wasn’t a big deal. But whenever my son is absent from school, I always wind up feeling like he’s missing out on something important. Perhaps this is a testament to the fabulous job his teachers have been doing, but it adds a little stress for me as a parent.
3. Preschool is four days a week
While I worried earlier this summer about only sending my son to a half-day, three-day-a-week camp, it was absolutely the right decision in the end. In fact, I specifically liked having two days a week where we could go on day trips, hang out with family, or just chill out at home if that’s what we felt like doing. Preschool, however, is four days a week—which means we’re stuck with a more rigid schedule.
But while some aspects of back-to-school are making me jittery, there are also a few reasons why I’m looking forward to it:
4. I’m excited to see what my son learns
While my son had a great time at camp, it was mostly the same routine every day—play some games, run around outside, splash around the water tables, eat lunch, do an art project, play some more, and repeat. During the past school year, however, my son came home pretty much every day with a new piece of information to share. One week he learned about dinosaurs; another week he learned about nature. I’m not saying everything has to be all about learning when you’re 4.5, but I really do get a kick out of seeing my son soak up all this knowledge, and I’m excited to see what his new teachers have in store.
5. I’ll get to see more of my mom friends
Both my son’s preschool and camp are run through our synagogue, but a lot of the preschool parents opted out of camp for the summer. Some went away; others chose full-time camp or longer programs. While I tried to stay in touch with everyone over the summer, getting together with some people just didn’t work out. I’m therefore looking forward to catching up with some of my friends and seeing how their summers went.
6. Preschool is four days a week
Yes, this one goes both ways. As much as I enjoyed a more relaxed schedule during the summer, I found it challenging some weeks to keep my son occupied on those non-camp days. Having an extra day of school takes a lot of the pressure off me to be my son’s source of entertainment.
Though I’m sad to see summer come to a close, I’m trying to get myself ready to embrace a new fall routine. Sure, I’ll miss the beach days and afternoon visits to the ice cream store, but hey, there’s always next summer.