By Eric Morken
Many families are in the process of sending kids back to school at this time of year. In my family, we’re dealing with sending our oldest daughter off to school for the first time.
Now she heads to preschool four days a week – two mornings through First Lutheran Church and two more at Woodland Elementary School in Alexandria.
Tuesdays mean music class for Aubree. Gymnastics will fall in line somewhere. Even Sunday school is offered on Wednesdays at First Lutheran to give families an option, which we’ll take advantage of. Then Fridays, our 6-month-old, Kyla, will start in ECFE.
I always marveled at the busy lifestyles of parents with young kids. Now my wife and I are living it, with a lot of help from our parents and in-laws.
Kids have every option on the table for them. Educationally, athletically, musically – there are classes and programs offered that start, for some, from the time they are a baby.
Aubree was 5-months old when she joined ECFE and a little older than 1 when she began music classes. She was almost 2 when she tumbled through her first gymnastics session.
It’s been good in helping her learn how to socialize with friends and teachers, and in preparing her for when she’ll be without us at school this fall. But a child can’t benefit fully from any program if the learning doesn’t start at home.
That was clear after Aubree played t-ball at the YMCA this summer. She never seemed to enjoy it. That’s my fault. I didn’t play enough catch with her or hit off the tee in the back yard before we entered her into the class.
We can already see her enjoyment in music. That started from the first few weeks after we brought her home when we sang to her and surrounded her with music.
Everyone knows the importance of reading to their children. For us, that means a similar routine before bed.
“Just two books tonight. Then it’s time to snuggle in,” I’ll tell Aubree. “Just one more, Daddy. A short one,” she says after those two are read.
Three years and thousands of books later, she’s off to preschool. Aubree is excited. We’re hopeful we’ve done enough right to prepare her.
Eric Morken of Alexandria is a husband, father, sports editor and outdoor enthusiast.