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I am a teacher. I have committed my life to teaching children. Of course, before I began this career, I had visions of standing in front of a group of eager-eyed children and elaborating on history, science, and math lessons. I couldn’t wait to see the “lightbulb” moments when students finally understood a reading passage or wrote their first paper.

And then I had my first day. Children are not cut out of a textbook (shocking, I know) but as a young 23-year-old, it knocked me right off my feet. I was thrown into the lion’s den, better known as kindergarten. Quickly, I realized what the students actually needed to know in order to be successful, and most of it didn’t come from the curriculum. In fact, most of it could be done at home.

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I am a teacher, and this is what I want you to teach your kids at home:

Teach your child to be kind. Be kind to other kids. Be kind to teachers and staff. Be kind to themselves. School is so much easier when you have a kind heart leading you. They do not need to (and probably should not) be friends with everyone. But they can be kind to everyone.

Teach them how to make mistakes. Your child will fail many times before they figure everything out (aren’t we all still learning this?), teach them how to handle those setbacks. Teach them how to keep trying, how to brush off the frustrations, and to persevere.

Teach them to advocate for themselves. No matter how well you raise your child, not everyone has the same upbringing. They may be subjected to or exposed to cruel behaviors. Teach them to stand up for themselves and when to get adult help. The same goes for learning. Things will be challenging. Teach them to ask for help. Teachers are a lot of things but we are not all-seeing, things go unnoticed without a child using their voice.

Teach them to take responsibility for their things. Show them how to pack their backpack so they don’t lose their library books, mittens, lunch boxes. Teach them how to zip their coats, tie their shoes, and open the items in their lunch boxes. Not only is this to aid the teacher, but it teaches the child a sense of self-worth and leadership.

RELATED: Dear Anxious Kindergarten Parents, From a Teacher Waiting For Your Babies

Teach them that life isn’t always fair. One of the very first things a child learns in kindergarten is that they will not always get their way. They won’t get to be line leader every day. They won’t get the first choice of toys at playtime. They won’t win every game. And that is okay. They will get their chance at all of those things, just as everyone else does.

You may notice this list doesn’t include their ABCs or 123s. Please, because I would be thrown in teacher jail if I didn’t say this, read to your child and foster a love of learning in their hearts. But that is not what we need you to teach your children. We can teach them anything academic if they come to us prepared to learn.

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So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Jamie Duhn

Jamie Duhn is a mother of two in the throes of baby and toddlerhood, but officially a "two under two" survivor. Jamie teaches kindergarten full time so her world is full of tiny hands and voices 24/7. She wouldn't have it any other way. Follow her personal page for everyday life at https://www.instagram.com/jamie_duhn?igsh=MXd4d3NtcmFpeWM0ag%3D%3D&utm_source=qr Or you can find her classroom adventures on https://www.instagram.com/mrsduhnskindergarten?igsh=NHpmZWM3aXpwbjYy&utm_source=qr

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