Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Our journey of getting through Separation Anxiety and going to School...

I am doing the Mommy Happy Dance today! Why, you ask? ....Because my son actually likes school now! No, let me rephrase that...he LOVES school now! It was only a few years ago that the case was so very different! Oh my gosh, I sort of forgot the troubles we had with his first school experience, until just recently when I actually kind of sat back and reminisced about it. It's funny the things you can forget. Well, I have a horrible memory as most of my close friends already know, so I guess it doesn't surprise me lol. But after I actually did recall the whole ordeal, and compared the then to now, wow...my son has really come a long way! It made me so very proud of him and how he worked through his separation anxiety!

So, let me take you back a little. He was three years old, nearly four. I was a stay at home mom and he, an only child. Everyone around me said you should put him in school...get him used to the routine and allow him to socialize and all that jazz. Since this Jr. Pre-K program was only two and a half hours a day, four days a week, I thought yeah, this probably is a good time to get him exposed to kids and the whole process of attending school. And I'm not saying in anyway that I regret my decision...I think it was good actually, but oh boy, the traumatic experience it all was back then!


First Day of Jr.Pre-K (2012); Before the separation anxiety set in
playing happily because Mommy was right there...

He was very attached to me, I was never one to leave him with babysitters or anything like that. The only people he spent anytime with away from myself were close family members, and even that was pretty limited. So, I knew it would be an adjustment for him, but I also thought with kids to play with a fun activities to do, he'd adapt quickly. Wrong lol. I'm sure he is not the only child to have a hard time with separation, but this really was a bad case of it. Upon trying to drop him off that very first day, it became clear to both myself and the teacher that I was just going to have to stay. I thought ok, the first day, I'll stay, he'll get more comfortable and tomorrow will be better. Wrong again. You've heard the experience that a child was literally clinging onto someones leg? Not letting go for anything? Yep, that was my son. Day after day, he was fine at going to the school, but when it came time to actually drop him off, it was the same melt down each day. I tried putting a picture of him and I in his backpack, because I heard that could help. It didn't. I even gave him something of mine to keep and hold onto throughout the day. It was a silky scarf that quickly became known as "his silky". Yes, he sure did carry it around with him the entire day, but it didn't do much to help when it came time for me to leave.


Xander helping to set the table for snack time, with his "silky" in hand!

To make a long story short, I, the mother, basically became an unofficial teacher's helper for two whole weeks. I did everything with the class and became a teacher's aide of sorts lol. Why not, I was there...she might as well have used me as an extra helper lol. My son was fine during this time. I was there, he did everything asked of him, he played with the kids, and everything. It was just the fact that I was around and he knew it, so he was all good. Well, after those first two weeks, the teacher and I talked and decided that was enough of a buffer period...so, starting the following Monday, I was to drop him off to the classroom...and leave. Leave the classroom, leave the building....oh the anxiety I had! My good friend Liz suggested we just hang out at a near by coffee shop for the two hours of school time that first day he was alone...so that in case there was an emergency, I'd be right there! (Thanks Liz!) It was still a struggle everyday. As you can imagine, this was probably just as hard on me emotionally as it was for him. I hated seeing him so distressed every morning. School started in early September and I remember it took until sometime in November before we had a totally smooth drop off! A solid two months of straight hardship at the drop off. It became easier and easier from then on. We just had to keep at it.


First Day of Pre-K (2013)


First Day of Pre-K (2013)
The next year he did preschool at a different school and that went pretty well. I was worried after being off for the summer he might resort right back to his old ways, but no, it wasn't bad at all. And then came kindergarten (last year), he was really good about going to school then. Even took the school bus like a big boy! Last year he had an amazing teacher who was sweet, caring, and made learning fun! (Shout out and hugs to you, D.G.!) She really had a lot to do with what made him start really loving going to school!


First ride on a school bus...

starting to adjust much better to school by this point! :)


First Day of Kindergarten (2014)


First Day of Kindergarten (2014)

And now for the current year, first grade...my son was actually excited about going to school! The very first day he was literally jumping around so excited for the bus to arrive! And then today, after he got home I asked how he second day went? With a huge smile on his face he said, "Great! It was even better than the first day!" Oh how I love that he enjoys going to school now! Especially since just three years ago, it was totally different! So, you can see why I am doing the Mommy Happy Dance! My boy has come a long way from disliking school and hating to leave my side, to being excited and happy to go! He is so smart, always has been, but now he also has a sense of independence! I must admit, I do miss my little baby he once was, but I also love seeing him grow into such a wonderfully kind, sweet, and intelligent young man that he is!


First Day of 1st Grade! (2015)


First Day of 1st Grade (2015)


Totally happy and excited to go to school now!
 

16 comments:

  1. so glad he's loving school!! as a teacher, this makes my heart so happy! and he's sooo cute

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  2. Looks happy! :) I'm glad he is doing so much better!

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  3. so glad he is loving it, it makes everyone so much happier- mom, teacher and himself

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  4. All your kids are so cute! I'm glad they had a wonderful first day of school!

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  5. LOL I have a HORRIBLE memory too! You should see all of my sticky notes here! I think it is good he acclimated and you worked in the class to help out! Maybe he should have started with a baby sitter for awhile first lol oh well looking back - its done and over and he is not scarred for life over it and LOVES school now! Hey that was one heck of a run on sentence huh? Your son is adorable and he just looks so dang happy! I am happy for you BOTH!

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  6. That's really sweet and I absolutely love how attached to your son you are. It's inspiring! <3

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  7. OMG! I went through this when my first started school! It was so hard, he cried for 2 weeks! lol! But like your son, he started to love it. Hope it continues that way for your son!

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  8. I'm a preschool teacher and I see this pretty often. Every year we have a couple of kids who cry through the first few days, but mostly they adjust pretty quickly! It's incredible how quickly they can get used to things once parents leave.

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  9. I'm a preschool teacher and I see this pretty often. Every year we have a couple of kids who cry through the first few days, but mostly they adjust pretty quickly! It's incredible how quickly they can get used to things once parents leave.

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  10. Yay for excitement about school! And oh my gosh, you can really see how much he grew just from Kindergarten to first grade, that's crazy!

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  11. Awwwww glad he likes school now :):) I was worried Haylie was going to be that way because she was never really exposed to kids her age & she was shockingly so easy going when it came to dropping her off. She cries when I pick her up lol.... Makes me sad she likes her friends more than me lol...

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  12. My youngest son just started kindergarten this year. He loves school, but as a mother watching her last one grow... I need a hug. Haha

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  13. Gotta love when they enjoy going to school! My son started kindergarten this year and he has done great, but I have watched other kiddos struggle and I know my heart would break if I were in the same situation. He has been trying to convince me that school should only be every other day though :)

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  14. I'm happy for you that your son finally made the transition from anxious pre-k kid to ready for the world first grader... I remember this well with my kids. Wishing him a successful school year!

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  15. So wonderful that he now LOVES school, you've come a long way! One of my kiddos was totally ready and willing to race into school that first day and the other not so much...I've definitely been on both sides of the fence, great job momma!

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  16. Your son is so handsome! I'm so glad he's loving school now. I'm sure it was just as hard for you as it was for him back in the early days. That's awesome that you got to be a helper to make the transition easier.

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