There are numerous strategies for helping your child cope with the first day of school, but what if you get more anxious than your son or daughter? My son, Bennett is starting Pre-K and when I asked him if he had any concerns about it, he just looked at me. “Why would I be concerned?” he responded. “No reason,” I answered, “I was just wondering.” Meanwhile, I thought, “what if you have a hard time making friends, or you don’t feel engaged by your teachers or by the curriculum?”
I think school transitions are often harder for parents than children because we are much more aware of how starting a new grade signals a developmental milestone and the passage of time. Isn’t that why we’re so eager to take pictures of our children on their first day of school? By documenting the milestone, we can remember what they were like before they became all grown up.
My sister had a very memorable experience last month when my nephew, Zach started kindergarten. They live in Virginia and she called me to report on his first day. “It was rough,” she said. After taking their obligatory “first day of school” photograph, they headed to the bus stop fifteen minutes early because my nephew was so excited to take the bus to school. Unfortunately, the bus never showed and so after waiting over half an hour, my sister finally drove to school with my nephew crying about the bus the entire way. Once they arrived, a school official prevented my sister from accompanying her son to his classroom.
Having wanted Zach’s first day of school to go perfectly, my sister was on the verge of tears. Just as she was about to argue with the woman at the school, she heard her son say, “it’s okay mommy, I’ll go with her.” Even though he had been upset about not riding the bus, Zach didn’t want his mom to make the first day of school a bigger deal than it had to be. He seemed to sense there would be plenty of bus rides and days at school in his future. (And I’m happy to report that the next day, Zach’s bus came right on time.)