A little over a month ago, I, like many other parents, sent my son off to his first day of preschool. Like many of you, I was filled with many emotions. On the one hand, I was excited for my COVID baby to socialize, but I was also nervous about how he would do away from me for the first time. Here are a few things I’ve experienced or learned that might help you to feel like you aren’t alone.
1. The First Preschool Drop Off
The first day was a bit overwhelming for all involved. One thing that shocked me was that my son (this shy COVID baby) walked right in sat on a chair and didn’t even look back. I felt a bit sad and proud at the same time. Learning to hold two contradicting emotions has been a theme in my life lately. Not all kids react this way, but we have to be open to the possibilities that they might not behave how you expected.
2. It’s Ok to Feel Relieved
If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that I unexpectedly became a stay at home mom because of the pandemic. This has meant that I have felt fully on mom mode 24/7 for 2.5 years. My son and I needed preschool to give us time away from each other. When I dropped him off, I didn’t cry. I think it’s ok to normalize that. I have been enjoying the 3.5 hours to myself, and I’m a better mom for it.
3. The First 3 Weeks of Preschool
So the first day was a magical drop off, but that didn’t last. Drop offs became increasingly harder for my son. We would get him in the car, and he’d automatically point away from the school and say “over there” or “house.” He cried all the way to the door and continued crying when he was inside. One day the teacher did let me know that he was crying and asking for me all day. This made me sad, but it has gotten better. He doesn’t cry anymore.
4. Explaining Routine
One thing that has helped my son adjust to school is explaining his new routine to him. I bought 2 books about school and read those to him. Every time we are about to drive to school, I explain to him what’s going to happen. I tell him, “We woke up early today, got dressed, and now we are driving to school. You’re going to eat breakfast, play, and learn. You’ll have lunch after that and then mom and grandma will pick you up!” I remind him that we are going to be there for him very soon.
5. Speech Improvements
My son has had a speech delay and didn’t really start talking until this summer. This was one of the reasons we wanted to send him to school to help his speech develop. It has really helped. He comes home saying different words every day. It’s awesome to see that he is breaking out of his shell and exploring his speech.