Winning the First Day of School
Let's face it - most kids talk a big game for people who hide behind their mommies' skirts at the first sign of anything new or unknown.
Our boys are pretty much in that camp, especially The Kid. He really does become quite anxious whenever he's out of his comfort zone, so I was dreading today, which was his first day at his new school.
The move was a good one for a number of reasons, but I was worried about how he would react to moving from a small playschool to a much bigger one so I spent the last few weeks getting him to close his eyes and imagine what it was going to be like on his first day as we arrive at the school, sees all the other children in the big play area, and meets his teacher in his classroom.
I got him to imagine seeing mom and dad walk away for the day.
And then I would ask him how he felt while imagining all of that.
"Great" was always his response, "I feel great."
See what I mean? These kids talk a big game. I knew that he was going to be anxious, that he would cry and that he would big me to stay.
So this morning we got the boys dressed and heading to school. They were both smiling the whole time, like this:
While they were acting all excited and whatnot, my wife and I struggled to keep our anxiety at the coming drama to a dull roar. We arrived at the school and played with them for a bit before taking them to their class...
...and that's it.
Boy2.0 clung to his mom for a second, but got settled very quickly. But the real shock was The Kid. This boy, who is usually so anxiety-filled, gave me a fist bump and walked into his classroom. There were absolutely no tears in sight.
Well...that's not exactly true:
So, here's what I learned:
Talk about the upcoming potential moment of anxiety. Help your child mentally prepare for what he or she will go through on the day. It's like a kind of psychological training, I guess.
Be prepared yourself. My wife went above and beyond by preparing their clothes, lunch and even their breakfast the night before. That means you don't have that mad rush to not be late on your first day. The rushing around just raises the tension which is exactly what you don't want to do.
Trust your child's teacher. You've chosen the best school you could, now trust that this trained professional can deal with your child...even if they are crying at drop off. Yes, your baby is unique, but I doubt his antics is anything a well-trained has never seen before. So when the teacher suggests you leave...just go. They will let you know if your precious baby is not okay.
This all takes effort, but it is TOTALLY worth a calm morning.