School is starting sometime in the next few weeks for nearly every child in America. Reactions tend to be mixed. Many kids love returning to the routine, the stimulation, being with friends daily, and getting to know their teacher. Others become anxious, dread their class load, and try to avoid thinking about social troubles at school.
And parents, many of them have a mixed bag of reactions as well. Some look forward to it and some say they will be crushed because they are alone all day. I am excited because it’s my baby’s first day of kindergarten, but I’m also wistful because it’s my baby’s first day of kindergarten. More than anything, it will be the first time all of my kids are in school all day long. That’s a major adjustment for me, but I’ve been looking forward to it.
Here’s another spin on the parental reaction to going back to school. I was flipping channels the other day, came across a Walmart ad with a mom getting her daughter all her bedding for college. As they were hugging and looking at this cool looking bed, tears started flowing.
I was flashed vividly back to the day I moved into college and my parents put up my loft bed. What a day that was for them because I was their first born. But me – I’m crying about my oldest daughter leaving home for college, except that she’s just going into the fourth grade next week. I realize time flies, but really. Not even close.
I also sobbed at my youngest’s preschool graduation (the soon-to-be kindergartner). I was pleased to find another mom I knew at that graduation crying her eyes out too. We already know we’re bringing a whole box of tissues to the high school one.
Really, the message here is that these reactions are all some level of normal. Pay attention to any sort of anxieties or dislike of school that seems to be prolonged. If your child has been bullied or has an undiagnosed learning disability, that’s probably how it will show up. Normal adjustment anxiety is generally pretty minor and goes away pretty quickly. You can ask your child’s teacher if you have suspicions of something more troubling.
So bring a camera, bring some tissues if you are so inclined, and bring your best smile.