Amir's 1st day of school and how to overcome separation anxiety
So the day has finally came, and to be honest I was quite nervous. I mean, leaving another adult to care for your child is scary af! In this post, I will mainly touch on my experience. I promise to create another post on how I chose my son's school.
The drop off
So, prior to attending the 1st day of class, the school asked for us to bring a few items: 2 recent pictures, a crib fitted sheet, diapers, 1 pair of clothes, and a pair of socks. (All labeled with his name). We came super prepared. Unfortunately, my husband had to work, but my sister came along with me. So, we arrived to the class. It is actually happening. I walked in and met a very bubbly personality. Teacher Lauren came across as happy and confident. She knew Amir's name and greeted him as well. I looked across the classroom and their were 4 other toddlers. 3 busy playing and 1 in the potty. The classroom is bright and the sun shined right through. Teacher Lauren is now talking to the little girl in the potty and is asking her to pull up her pants if she is done. Her voice is stern and I loooooove that! She is definitely in control and aware of everything going on in her classroom.
I decided to stick around for a while. I hear this is common on the 1st day of school. During this time, I was thinking to myself, thank God my sis is here. She is good at reading vibes and energy and that is important, at least to me. Opps, I forgot to mention an important detail. Amir fussed for about 20 seconds. After that, homie left my arms like I snitched on him. (I swear, it be your own family. LOL) . He started working on the puzzles and just made his way around station to station. (FYI, we choose a Montessori school) As he was exploring, I began to drill...I mean ask questions. I asked about the schedule for the day, which I already knew. I asked the teacher, what does she do if she sees Amir is interested in a particular sensory activity...again, I already had the answer to this question as well. I asked the ages of the other students, which she provided. I also asked for another tour around each station and the purpose...which I already knew. My goal was to not get her to repeat what I already knew, but to test her patience level. I mean, she is working with kids right?!? She aced the test with flying colors. She was calm, patient, and made strong eye contact. In total, I stood around for about 20 mins. Afterwards, I said bye to Amir and thanked her. My sister reassured me that it going to be ok.
Time to pick up my child
Now, 3.5 hours later, it's time to pick up Amir. (Don't laugh at me) We decided to start off with a schedule of 3 times a week, part time. I wanted to test the environment before diving in. For those of you, who are working full time and have to put your child in full time, that is also great. I don't feel that there is a right or wrong way of doing this. As I walked in, Amir was sitting down and eating his yogurt at the table with the other kids. He ran up to me with joy and yelled "momma". It was an awesome feeling. He gave me a hug and went right back to the table to finish off his yogurt. Teacher Lauren gave me a full verbal report of the things he was interested in. I was also greeted by another teacher, who was assisting Teacher Lauren. Again, there were only 4 kids plus Amir. The teacher to student ratio is on point. It helps me feel confident that Amir is getting the attention he deserves. After the verbal report, she asked if she could send me pics of Amir during the day. Again, another example of Teacher Lauren going above my expectations.
It is now time to go, and Amir is not ready! He begins to whine and fuss. A good sign that he enjoyed his 1st day. I picked him up and explained to him that we would be back on Wednesday.
Things to check up on after the 1st day
-I asked Amir how he felt. I am looking for all types of body language and any form of communication. I want to ensure he is emotionally and spiritually ok.
-I checked his diaper and examined all body parts. It was clear that his diaper has been changed and all of his body parts looked normal. No bruises or any abnormalities. I aint got time for games my people or slip ups. Also, make sure there is a chart in the classroom that tracks diaper changes.
- I also examine him throughout the rest of the day. Ask yourself the following: Is your child eating like he/she normally does? How is your child's mood? How is he interacting with you?
How to overcome separation anxiety
1. Pray, pray, pray- This is not cliche folks. You got to pray things goes smoothly on your child's 1st day. Pray for the teacher, pray for the school, and also pray for the other kids. Remember, your child is interacting with other kids who are probably much different from your child. Pray that the interaction is positive and they can co-play comfortably.
2. Do your work prior- I spent hours researching and going on tours of different schools for about 3 weeks. Yes, school after school after school. Figure out what is high on your list. Is it 2nd language immersion? Do you want a Montessori school? a traditional school? catholic school? what about teacher to student ratio? For me, once all the questions and more were answered, I felt more at ease. If you need help determining these things, I am 100% here to help you! It is not easy. I thank God for 2 of my friends who are teachers who were able to guide me through this process.
3. Familiarize yourself with the school and the environment.
4. Try to take your child to environments where they can interact with other kids prior to the 1st day of class outside of their home. Go to the park frequently or set up play dates in new locations. You want your child to feel comfortable in different environments. Also, try not to hover all over them. It is ok if they fall. The truth is you will not be with them 100% of the time, so learn to trust your child from a distance.
5. Let go and let God. No need for me to explain. Ya'll get it.
Everything seemed fine! I thank God for an awesome 1st day. How was you alls child's 1st day? If it is not here yet, tell me some of the things you are nervous about. I would like to keep this dialogue going and learn from you all as well. Thanks for taking the time to read this. I know it was super lengthy. I wanted to share as much details as possible. Thanks again. Love B
UPDATE (2nd and 3rd Day)
The 2nd day went well. I did a quick drop off as the teacher recommended and carried myself away. The 3rd day...not so well. LOL! He didn't want to enter the room. I guess by now he figured out that this a routine. He cried as I handed him to his teacher. :( She responded with positive phrases and reminded him that it is ok. She quickly distracted him with books and it worked. Books are his thing. So I suggest what ever is your child's thing, have it ready! :) . Here is a pic his teacher sent me to reassure me he was doing fine. Praise God!