When my daughter turned one, we started considering which school we would like for her to attend. All the ones we had in mind had a long waiting list, something we didn’t expect to face.
We filled out applications, researched several schools in our area and applied to a few with fingers crossed. Luckily, things worked out and she was accepted into one of the schools we had hoped she’d be attending. Little did I know that was the easy part.
As her start date neared, my anxiety started to grow.
Will she cry?
Will she hate it?
Will she love it?
Will she get along with the other kids?
Will she be comfortable being herself?
My mighty fears where just that, mine! I tried to stay calm and be neutral around her because I didn’t want to influence her reaction or response to being at school for ½ a day without me or a loved one. I wanted her to form her own opinion and create her own experience with no lead from me.
The school did an excellent job with preparing my daughter and me for this new journey. A few days before school started her teacher came to visit us so she could introduce herself to our daughter and we were able to take her to the school for a visit before her first day. These little but mindful steps really helped her get comfortable with the teacher.
First day of school – I was anxious and tried my hardest not to influence her with my emotions. I dropped her off, no tears from her, but tears from me. The texts and phone calls started rolling in from family and friends who were just as curious as me to know how drop off went and if the school had called for me to pick her up. That was by far the longest 3.5 hours ever! I had my phone next to me at all times; each time it went off I thought it was the school calling so I could pick her up.
Finally it was time to pick her up. As soon as she saw us she cried. Oh the love I felt for her at that moment! It was too much, I wanted to just swoop her up and hold her forever! At 20 months old I think she did a great job taking it in, processing what was happening and showed her emotions the first day we picked her up from school by crying, hugging me and talking to me in her non-verbal language.
The phone started going off again with calls and texts from family and friends wanting to know how the first day went. The support from our loved ones really helped me. It was nice to see how much everyone cared about her and her well-being but also it was nice to feel the support from everyone making this ‘big step’ feel less overwhelming for me!
As the days progressed I established a routine I thought would work best for her and thus far it’s proven to be successful. I really think it helps her get mentally ready for school. As soon as she wakes up I let her know she’s going to school today. She understands. She knows she’s going to school, she knows she needs to eat breakfast, get dressed, brush her teeth all before putting her shoes on and heading to the car. By the third day she seemed eager to be heading out to school, which made me sad but happy. Sad because she’s growing, she’s growing and doesn’t need me there ALL the time like I’d like to be, but happy because she is happy going to school.
This experience is the first of many we will be going through together and I realized that each time it will be a learning lesson on letting go, being comfortable with the situation at hand and allowing my little one to grow. Parenting and childhood are not defined – there aren’t cookie-cutter answers to raising children or being a parent. But being a part of community who understand, support and encourage this growth within ourselves is what I find to be most valuable. I also realized that children are resilient, so capable and more adaptable then we really give them credit for.
WHAT EMOTIONS DID YOU EXPERIENCE WHEN YOUR LITTLE ONE STARTED SCHOOL?
P.S. If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy LITTLE THINGS CAN DO BIG THINGS.