Recently my 4 year old daughter started her prekindergarten.
My daughter was accustomed to being at home with me her first 4 years of her life, So its a bit exciting and scary for me that she will go to school for the first time and be separated from me for a long time.
The first week of her school, my excitement anticipation translate into smooth, stress-free transition on the first week.
Those first week was full of excitement for my little one.
But everything turns different on the second week.
My morning drop off became dramatic. School drop offs became the hardest and the most challenging part of my day. On the next several days i saw no improvement. She cried and screamed and keeps telling me, she doesn't like to go to school. There are morning that getting out of the house became a challenge, and resist leaving the house and she would tell me she likes to skip school. But of course i didn't give in to those request.
Those morning dramatic drop off, always breaks my heart. The mom guilt came to me, i felt so bad thinking about my daughter upset and i even think to pull her out off school, thinking that it is not her time. And i even question me being good a mom, did i really raised my child right? Thinking that i didn't do a good job because she cries!
Those cries and screams, trying to wrestle herself out of her teachers arms as i said goodbye are kind a tough to witness. But i need to leave, i need to be one tough mom, for her to learn and eventually adopt her new environment.
Her Teacher told me that she is very nervous and experiencing a Separation Anxiety.
And i begin to research about Separation Anxiety.
What is Separation Anxiety?
"Separation Anxiety" refers to excessive fear or worry about separation from home or an attachment figure. Separation Anxiety are often used during the early toddler years. As toddlers become more aware of their surroundings and begin to understand the world around them, they struggle to separate from their parents or caregivers.
Separation Anxiety is normal stage in a childhood development. And this part of development is fairly common and usually fades as they grow up, begin school and gain confidence.
And now I am working on ways to ease the transition:
1. Involved the Teacher
I talked to the teacher regarding my daughter's struggle. And they told me that it is okay to leave my daughter to their care even though she is crying and screaming. Because most of the kids who cry at drop off turn off the tears right after the preschool goodbye. And they are right, all is well to her after the dramatic drop off.
2. I get her excited about the school day
The night before the school, i involved her to the preparation clothes that she is about to wear and to the preparation of food that she would love to pack to her lunch bag. And on the way to school, we talked about what she might do to school. And i make sure i will not put any stressing conversation to her. We talk school in a positive way, i always explained to her that school is something we've all experienced. And school is fun!
3. I make my goodbye short and cheerfully
I appear completely confident and relax, reminded myself 'don't freak out', i say my goodbye short and cheerfully, i waved to her and assured her that i will be back to pick her up after school. Then i walk out without a backward glance.
Its hard tough, but necessary!
Morning drop offs can feel overwhelming, but we can take steps to ease the transition!
My daughter was never spent time away from home without me, she is experiencing a separation anxiety. It means she needs more time adjusting and the transition - the goodbye thing is not her thing.
But on a positive note, i reminded my self that it is expected, that it is normal, that her attachment to me is a healthy attachment, that we have a strong connection that we've built!
I know my little one will get to the swing of school and our drop off will soon be less dramatic.
And i am hoping that soon it will become a seamless, smooth transition to our day!