I remember my sons first day of kindergarten like it was yesterday. He was terrified… the days leading up to it, he tried to be strong but I could tell that inside he was quivering from fear. I couldn’t really blame him, I mean up until that point, besides when we went to work, he had never been apart from us and even than we were lucky enough to have either our parents or a close family relative take care of him. Daycare was never in the cards for us, I had never felt comfortable leaving him with some stranger and if I was perfectly honest with myself, I kinda wished that school didn’t have to be either. I’m not lying when I tell you that I often thought about homeschooling because of this fear, but I knew that it wouldn’t be fair to him or myself. Him because, I was/am not smart enough to teach him the things that he would/ has learned in school and myself because, I deserve a break to and let’s be honest, as mothers, most of the time that is the only time we can take one.
Lucky for me all of my ill feelings towards this milestone only lasted about a week, a very long week but on both our parts they finally came to an end. All it took was some patience, understanding and these simple solutions…
- Leading up to the beginning of the school year, ask your child how they are feeling. Try to ease these feelings by telling them it’s okay to feel that way but… this is the part where you try to make them feel better about a situation they don’t want to have to be in,. I like to always lead by example, so I told my son about my first day of Kindergarten (what I could remember anyways, since it was many moons ago) and my husbands apprehension towards it as well. I feel that if they know they are not alone with these feelings, they accept that they are normal and it is easier for them to get over it.
- It is okay to call the school – if the uneasiness is in you and not your child I’m sure the staff at your child’s school will not mind if you give them a quick call to check up on him or her… and if they do, than the receptionist and the teacher at my son’s school must hate me because I called or emailed at least once a day for that first week. In reality they were great, very understanding and encouraging that he was alright and having a great time.
- Just let go, they need it and in the long run will benefit from it. Once I realized this than the butterflies in my stomach finally went away and I was able to relax and enjoy the little bit of time that I had with just my toddler and I.
- BE STRONG! As much as I didn’t want to, I walked him to the bus stop, held my head high, told him to have an amazing day, kissed-him good-bye and… bawled my eyes out the minute the bus left. The important thing was, I DID NOT let him see that just as scared, sad, or whichever emotions(s) he was feeling I was feeling I was feeling the same way if not more.
Now that his first day of Grade 1 is coming up, he is more excited than I have ever seen him and as much as I love him, I can’t wait to get some of that time back, where there are no children squabbling and the 2 hours to myself when my toddler naps.
Is your child starting kindergarten this year? How are you helping prepare them for their first day?