One Simple Way To Survive Preschool

It happened on our eight minute drive.

DJ Shuffle was playing in the car as we drove down that one road on our way to preschool. I was half awake and mostly consumed with getting back home to get the end of the year teacher gifts in order.

What wasn’t on my mind was this was my last morning drive to preschool.

It wasn’t until our first stop light when I realized the last moment I was actually experiencing. The last morning to transport my son to school in the safety of my own vehicle before he transitions to the school bus.

My heart broke a little.

Just five years ago I was working as a first grade teacher figuring out childcare for my new baby and counting down the days I could be at home with him and pour into him before he went off to kindergarten.

Two moves and three siblings later here we are wrapping up preschool and I’ve realized that time is gone. Everyone tells you it goes by quickly but you can never know just how fast “the blink of an eye” is until you’ve experienced one for yourself.

I’m not going to tell you how fast it goes by. You’ve heard that before. What I am going to tell you is a story of the most important thing you can do for your preschooler and it has nothing to do with play dates, alphabets, numbers or trendy pottery barn monogrammed backpacks. 

On our last drive to preschool I turned DJ Shuffle down and I just did the one thing I can do for him as a mom on my way to school.

I asked him, how can I pray for you today?

This one phrase has gotten us through the last two years on that eight minute drive to preschool. Sometimes he is not sure how to respond so I ask if there is something he is worried about or something he is working really hard at learning. 

Then, I pray in the car. Then and there.

We have prayed for his safety. We have prayed for his social relationships. We have prayed he would obey his teacher. We have prayed he would have self control over his body. We have prayed he would count his teen numbers correctly and learn to color his entire coloring page. We have even prayed he would remember not to color on other’s clothes with markers.

On our last drive to preschool he just replied, “Mom… Today, I’m just really nervous about kindergarten.”

(Sigh and small tear.)

Me too.

I told him we would have all summer to pray about that and for today we can just ask God to help us enjoy what he has for us this day.

So we did. We forgot about what lies ahead and focused on that last day. That last blink of an eye and we covered it with prayer. 

The prayer is both for me and my preschooler. 

That little prayer in my minivan on my eight minute drive to school helps me remember that I am not the one controlling his “blink of an eye”. 

So whatever transitional stage you may be in as a parent, remember to pray. That blink of an eye should be covered in prayer. You all know and have heard before it goes by too fast. 

Cover it in the simplest way. Cover those mornings and those “blink of an eyes” in prayer. 

4 Tools For Your Parenting Survival Kit

I have pretty much seen just about everything a toddler can get into. Not too long ago I was prepping my meals for the week when my one year old walked into the kitchen with a battery in his mouth and my two year old had figured out how to get his head in the oven behind my back. Thank goodness the oven was not turned on.

I am also very certain that the water on my toddler’s toothbrush yesterday was from the toilet instead of the sink.

So what should I do? Hop on my phone and google the horrors that might occur from drinking a little toilet water or look up other horror stories about babies and batteries?

#1 I try to find the humor in the chaos.

The things that happen around the house on a normal day can actually be quite comical.

I get peed on and my freshly washed hair, that I hadn’t taken the time to wash in three days, gets chunky throw up in it almost right after I finish with the straightener and my four year old has found a new love for peeing in a cup and handing it to me ever since he took a visit with me to my OB GYN.

I could get really angry about the vomit and the batteries or whine about the fact that there is actual urine in the cups I drink out of but what good does that really do? The anger and whining and the horror stories of the Internet just breed anxiety and frustration.

So I try to find the humor in the chaos.

I choose to find the comic relief behind the situations that do not seem to go my way.


#2 Don’t jump at every single opportunity to correct you kids.

If I corrected every wiggle, every spill and every selfish moment I would be correcting my kids every second of the day. Sometimes you need to just let them be kids and figure it out on their own.

I am trying to learn to correct my boys if they are causing serious danger to themselves or others or if there is direct defiance towards me.

You know the sayings:

Choose your battles.

Don’t major on the minors.

Pick one or maybe two things that you are going to work on with you kids and correct only those behaviors.  You will find rest and peace when your whole day is not spent bickering at your children.

#3 Don’t freak out.

Imagine you’re in trouble, let’s say trapped in a burning house, and the first responders find you and start freaking out.

Oh, my… What did you do? How did you do this? What were you thinking? This is terrible! This is the worst burning house I have ever seen.”

I would die from anxiety if first responders were not trained to remained calm.

Try to remain calm when your kid falls off the couch or gets their fingers pinched in the door. It happens to pretty much everyone. Your fretting and worry only makes the situation worse.

You are their first responder. Remain calm for your child and don’t add to their anxiety.

Just breathe and don’t freak out.

I have sent my oldest son into a frantic tantrum when one of my other children pooped in the bathtub. Because I was anxious he was balled up on the floor hyperventilating in the fetal position because poopy water touched his body.

I have scarred him for life because I was a poor first responder.

Remain calm.

#4 Be flexible and be nice to yourself.

My kids have been known to put themselves to bed and my 20 month old never forgets to tell me that 8am is “breakfast time.” Like clockwork we eat, sleep and play but I have learned that the needs of my children are more important than my routine.

Some of my four year old’s best memories include times like when we skipped the zoo and ate our breakfast on a blanket while watching Cars movie.

If you have planned a big day out but everyone is melting down because they are tired from a long weekend, stay home instead. If maybe you are just too tired to get out the play doh and finger paints on craft day, skip the crafts and go outside instead.

Be nice to yourself. Experiencing story time or another finger painting activity is not worth the thirty minutes of torturous tantrums from kids or mommy. It is more important if everyone is emotionally and physically rested than getting through that structured activity you had planned.

Be flexible and be nice to yourself.

It’s simple really. Breathe and relax there is grace for you, grace for your children and grace for this day. His mercies are abundant and never ending.

Find the laughter in the chaos.

Don’t correct every little thing.

Be a good first responder.

Be flexible and be nice to yourself.