The first days of kindergarten are here this week. It is a time to hail the kindergarten teacher -- wiper supreme, manufacturer of smiles, band-aider of boo-boos, shaper of destinies.
But he or she can't do the job alone. Parents, can you ever help! Your children are not being sent into orbit, not even to a sleep-away camp. Just a few blocks away to a very warm and friendly place where nice things are going to happen. So relax and consider the following:
1. Ship all grandparents (bless 'em) back to wherever they reside! Their tender hearts can be too much of a distraction.
2. Walk your future presidents around the school building to prove that it is not a bastille, a horror house or a torture chamber!
3. Become a soft-sell huckster by pointing out the pleasures of kindergarten -- meeting other children, playing games, enjoying the loving care of a great teacher, opening their eyes to new skills, and being out of the clutches of their parents!
4. At the classroom door, don't be a clinger or a malingerer. Let go!
5. After relinquishing, don't tiptoe through the school tulips to scratch, tap and wave at the kindergarten window!
6. Don't monopolize the teacher's time by expounding all of your youngster's allergies, food fads, habits, anxieties and brilliance. You can do this briefly in a note. Just make certain that your new schooler has plenty of Kleenex and has gone to the bathroom!
7. Don't cry, or, God forbid, sob!
Your kindergartner is not off to war. As a matter of fact, he or she will be home in a few short hours, happy and off to a wonderful education and career.
Relax, parents. All will be well!
Newsday reader Mel Tanenbaum, now retired, was a teacher and administrator in the Plainview school district, and operated the Mount Tom Day School and Day Camp in New Rochelle. He lives in Port Jefferson Station.