A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

Kindergarten Is Going to Change Your Child Completely – and That’s Okay

Kindergarten changes everything.

For five years, we’ve raised our child on our own. We taught him to walk and talk. We taught him about the world around him and how to tell right from wrong. We taught him everything he knows – and now everything is going to change.

Kindergarten, for many parents, is the first time you really hand your child off to someone else. Now, for eight hours a day, he will be surrounded by other teachers, other ideas, and other peers – influences that aren’t his parents.

It’s a terrifying thing to let go of that absolute control you have over your child. Suddenly, your child stops being the product of your parenting alone. From now on, their futures and their identities hinge on the public school system, on the teacher they get stuck with, and on the classmates who befriend them.

From here on out, kids’ friends are a bigger part of their life than ever. They’re going to change who your child is. They spend the better part of the day with your child, and they might even end up having more influence on who your child becomes than you do.

That’s a scary thought. It’s hard to let go and trust the world with your child but every parent has to do it. It helps to know that more good will come from this than you think.

Children take more good from friends than bad

When a child leaves their home and starts the first day of kindergarten, it’s almost like they’re arriving in a fantasy land. They’re entering a place filled with kids, a kind of place they’ve never been before. They’re meeting the kids who will be their first best friends, who will experience school with them, and who will define their idea of what being a friend means.

For a parent, this can be terrifying. It’s hard not to look at these kids and worry. In the brief few moments when you get to see your child’s new classmates, the bad ones tend to stand out. It’s easy to wonder, are these kids going to ruin my perfect child?

Kids, though, pick up more positive qualities from their friends than negative qualities. When young children spend time with their friends, the good tends to rub off. They pick up extroversion, confidence, and perseverance, and the bad qualities – like anxiety and short tempers – tend not get passed on.

Kids usually gravitate toward friends that are similar to them. A child who has been raised to be meek and tame will probably make meek and tame friends. So all we can do is raise our kids to be the best we can make them and hope they end up with friends that are just like them.

Friends make children better friends

Those friendships your child is developing are essential to who they become. The way your child handles friendships in the future has a lot to do with their friendships when they’re young. If your child is spending their time with friends who are good to them, they’re going to get more out of friendships later on.

When our children make friends, they’re learning how to be a friend – a skill that takes time to develop. They’re getting better at treating people well and being considerate of others’ feelings, which is not something that five-year-olds are naturally good at doing. They’re learning to enjoy friendships more, and because of this experience, they’re going to take more pleasure in them in the future.

Beyond that, friendships just make kids happier in general. Early friendships have a massive impact on a child’s development. They help them feel more confident, less stressed, and more capable of handling the adjustments they’ll face throughout life.

You can’t hold them forever

The truth is, no parent has influence over their children forever. Sooner or later, we have to let them leave the nest and tackle life on their own.

Children change. No matter how hard we try to mold them into the people we want them to be, our kids are going to go through a whole lifetime of experiences without us. They’re going to go through school. They’re going to make friends. They’ll go to college, get married, and get jobs. All that changes who you are.

A study that ran from 1947 to 2012 tracked how peoples’ personalities changed throughout life. By adulthood, they were completely unrecognizable from who they were when they were children. Every personality characteristic that had defined them when they were young had changed by the time they were old.

That will happen to our children, too – including mine. My perfect child, who I’ve raised to be everything I want him to be, is going to change. He will make friends, and I won’t be able to choose who they are. He will become somebody new, somebody who no longer sees his Dada as the coolest thing he could possibly grow up to be.

That’s okay. There’s nothing I can do to stop that. I just have to trust I’ve started him off on the right foot – and that he’ll take it from here.

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

Subscribe to get inspiration and super helpful ideas to rock your #momlife. Motherhood looks amazing on you.

Already a subscriber? Log in here.

Baby stuff comes in such cute prints these days. Gone are the days when everything was pink and blue and covered in ducks or teddy bears. Today's baby gear features stylish prints that appeal to mom.

That's why it's totally understandable how a mama could mistake a car seat cover for a cute midi skirt. It happened to Lori Farrell, and when she shared her mishap on Facebook she went viral before she was even home from work. Fellow moms can totally see the humor in Farrell's mishap, and thankfully, so can she.

As for how a car seat cover could be mistaken for a skirt—it's pretty simple, Farrell tells Motherly.

"A friend of mine had given me a huge lot of baby stuff, from clothes to baby carriers to a rocker and blankets and when I pulled it out I was not sure what it was," she explains. "I debated it but washed it anyway then decided because of the way it pulled on the side it must be a maternity skirt."

Farrell still wasn't 100% sure if she was right by the time she headed out the door to work, but she rocked the ambiguous attire anyway.

"When I got to work I googled the brand and realized not only do they not sell clothing but it was a car seat cover."

The brand, Itzy Ritzy, finds the whole thing pretty funny too, sharing Farell's viral moment to its official Instagram.

It may be a car seat cover, but that print looks really good on this mama.

And if you want to copy Farell's style, the Itzy Ritzy 4-in-1 Nursing Cover, Car Seat Cover, Shopping Cart Cover and Infinity Scarf (and skirt!) is available on Amazon for $24.94.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy.You've got this.

You might also like:

Daycare for infants is expensive across the country, and California has one of the worst states for parents seeking care for a baby. Putting an infant in daycare in California costs $2,914 more than in-state tuition for four years of college, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Paying north of $1,000 for daycare each month is an incredible burden, especially on single-parent families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines affordable childcare as costing no more than 10% of a family's income—by that definition, less than 29% of families in California can afford infant care. Some single parents spend half their income on day care. It is an incredible burden on working parents.

But that burden may soon get lighter. CBS Sacramento reports California may put between $25 and $35 million into child care programs to make day care more affordable for parents with kids under 3 years old.

Assembly Bill 452, introduced this week, could see $10 million dollars funneled into Early Head Start (which currently gets no money from the state but does get federal funding) and tens of millions more would be spent on childcare for kids under three.

The bill seeks to rectify a broken childcare system. Right now, only about 14% of eligible infants and toddlers are enrolled in subsidized programs in California, and in 2017, only 7% of eligible children younger than three years of age accessed Early Head Start.

An influx of between $25 to $35 million dollars could see more spaces open up for kids under three, as Bill 452, if passed, would see the creation of "grants to develop childcare facilities that serve children from birth to three years of age."

This piece of proposed legislation comes weeks after California's governor announced an ambitious plan for paid parental leave, and as another bill, AB 123, seeks to strengthen the state's pre-kindergarten program.

Right now, it is difficult for some working parents to make a life in California, but by investing in families, the state's lawmakers could change that and change California's future for the better.

You might also like:

When a mama gets married, in most cases she wants her children to be part of her big day. Photographers are used to hearing bride-to-be moms request lots of pictures of their big day, but when wedding photographer Laura Schaefer of Fire and Gold Photography heard her client Dalton Mort planned to wear her 2-year-old daughter Ellora instead of a veil, she was thrilled.

A fellow mama who understands the benefits of baby-wearing, Schaefer was keen to capture the photos Mort requested. "When I asked Dalton about what some of her 'must get' shots would be for her wedding, she specifically asked for ones of her wearing Ellie, kneeling and praying in the church before the tabernacle," Schaefer tells Motherly.

She got those shots and so many more, and now Mort's toddler-wearing wedding day pics are going viral.

"Dalton wore Ellie down the aisle and nursed her to sleep during the readings," Schaefer wrote on her blog, explaining that Ellie then slept through the whole wedding mass.

"As a fellow mother of an active toddler, this is a HUGE win! Dalton told me after that she was SO grateful that Ellie slept the whole time because she was able to focus and really pray through the Mass," Schaefer explains.

Dalton was able to concentrate on her wedding day because she made her baby girl a part of it (and that obviously tired Ellie right out).

Ellie was part of the commitment and family Dalton if forging with her husband, Jimmy Joe. "There is no better behaved toddler than a sleeping toddler, and she was still involved, even though I ended up unwrapping her to nurse her. I held her in my arms while my husband and I said our vows. It was really special for us," Dalton told POPSUGAR.

This is a wedding trend we are totally here for!

Congrats to Dalton and Jimmy Joe (and to Ellie)! 🎉

You might also like:

The internet is freaking out about how Peppa Pig is changing the way toddlers speak, but parents don't need to be too worried.

As Romper first reported, plenty of American parents have noticed that preschoolers are picking up a bit of a British accent thanks to Peppa. Romper's Janet Manley calls it "the Peppa effect," noting that her daughter started calling her "Mummy" after an in-flight Peppa marathon.

Plenty of other parents report sharing Manley's experience, but the British accent is not likely to stick, experts say.

Toronto-based speech and language pathologist Melissa James says this isn't a new thing—kids have always been testing out the accents they hear on TV and in the real world, long before Peppa oinked her way into our Netflix queues.

"Kids have this amazing ability to pick up language," James told Global News. "Their brains are ripe for the learning of language and it's a special window of opportunity that adults don't possess."

Global News reports that back in the day there were concerns about Dora The Explorer potentially teaching kids Spanish words before the kids had learned the English counterparts, and over in the U.K., parents have noticed British babies picking up American accents from TV, too.

But it's not a bad thing, James explains. When an American adult hears "Mummy" their brain translates it to "Mommy," but little kids don't yet make as concrete a connection. "When a child, two, three or four, is watching a show with a British accent and hears [words] for the first time, they are mapping out the speech and sound for that word in the British way."

So if your baby is oinking at you, calling you "Mummy" or testing out a new pronunciation of "toh-mah-toe," know that this is totally natural, and they're not going to end up with a life-long British pig accent.

As Dr, Susannah Levi, associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University, tells The Guardian, "it's really unlikely that they'd be acquiring an entire second dialect from just watching a TV show."

It sure is cute though.

You might also like:

Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.