It’s a huge day. Your little one is going to school for the first time. It’s the beginning of a formal education that may continue well into your child’s twenties.
That first day of preschool is full of meaning for us as parents.
It means your little boy or girl is growing up.
Someone else will be taking care of him and teaching him things for a large part of the day. It means he won’t need you quite as much as he once did.
It means she will have a chance to make friends on her own. She might be good at it, or she might not. But this first day of preschool means she will be attempting lots of new things – some will be met with success and some she will fail, at least the first time.
It’s hard to see our children take this big step towards independence. Until this day, we as parents have orchestrated their little days and nights as much as we could, attempting to expose them to experiences that would mold them into healthy, resilient, loving kids.
Now we let them out into the world to practice the things we’ve taught at home, and learn new things along the way, too.
The first day of preschool is not always pretty. It’s excruciating to watch your little girl crying on that first day. Perhaps even every day for the first week.
But take heart, parents. I stood side by side with other parents agonizing over their little boys’ and girls’ tears, as we watched through the blinds of the classroom out to the playground that first day.
A few parents cried. Some wondered if they’d made the right decision, if their children were really ready for preschool.
The teachers reassured us that the children would stop crying within 15 minutes, and then no longer cry at morning drop-off after a week.
It was hard to believe, standing there with your heart in your throat watching your little one bawling and trying to get back to the gate to run after you.
My son said one boy cried the entire morning. But then we saw that same boy at morning drop-off two weeks later, and he was running ahead of his mom to get to class!
At my son’s preschool, the teachers were affectionate and respectful of the children, carrying them if they needed a soft touch and using their names properly from even that first day.
As the first day of preschool draws near for you and your child, prepare your heart. Know that that day might not be easy, but such big steps rarely are. And even if your child is the one who cries the entire first week, she might be the one running ahead to get there faster a week or two later.