I have been a bit absent this week but I’m back and am about to tell you about my 18 month old’s daughter’s first day at school. The standard procedure that most mum’s expect on this day is a nervous mum and a nervous child who starts to get a bit panicky when she sees all the children…. granted… they can be a bit intimidating! I’ve always thought that teachers, but nursery school teachers in particular, are incredibly special and unique people. How they do what they do is beyond me! Anyway, panicky child who starts to cry. Teacher, who has seen it all before, says to parent that they must go, child will be fine and will stop crying a minute after she’s left. End result: Child stops crying after a minute, mum stops crying after a couple of hours. This was not what happened with Jack and I was determined it wasn’t going to happen with Lucy either. I hate leaving my children when they are upset and I have always taken steps to ensure my kids feel comfortable with what is happening whether it be school, mum and dad going out, spending the night with a friend, whatever. As a result, I can count on one hand, the amount of times I have had to leave my children when they were upset and that is something I am very proud of.
So we get to the school, Lucy’s little cousin Ben is there as it’s his first day too. His mum, Sera and I decided that their first day should be together as they are the youngest in the class and they can offer each other moral support in a way that only toddlers can do I suppose? Lucy was delighted to see her cousin so that was a good start. At the gate I set her down because I felt it important that she walked into school on her own two feet just like all the other kids. When she saw all the children she got panicked and wanted me to pick her up which I did. I am now totally focussed on her and although I am making a point of being blase, I am intently scrutinising her every expression. Kids are lining up to go outside and play and I say to Lucy, whose eyes are darting in every direction,
“Lulubelle, mummy is going to go now and you are going to the play-ground to have fun with Ben and the other children. Come, let’s go!”
You might not think she has understood me but I can assure you, she has.
I took her hand and we starting walking outside to the playground. Her teacher, Debbie came and took her other hand and then I slowly let go. She turned to look at me and reached out for me again at which I blew her a kiss and waved goodbye. With a little encouragement from her teacher she turned her head and never looked back.
So, what can one take from this experience. Talk to your children about what is happening on the way, or even better, the day before. Prepare them for what is about to happen and the will feel more comfortable with it.
Children are like animals when it comes to energy and they can sense immediately if you are uneasy and then they get afraid. Not a good start to leaving them peacefully.
Take your time getting ready for the first day and DON’T RUSH, if you are late it’s better as everyone is settled and teacher can focus on the new kids. (tip from Debbie). This way, you arrive at school having had a lovely chat in the car about school and how exciting it is etc, maybe you sang a few nursery rhymes or whatever. You are relaxed, your child is happy and that is how you leave them on their first day at school, relaxed and happy.