Brayden started Kindergarten this year and although I knew at some point I was going to have to let him go and be independent, I had no idea it would happen so soon. You hear stories of children not wanting to hug or kiss their moms goodbye ( we are so embarrassing!) and kids asking their moms to let them off a block down the road so as not to been seen with us, but in Kindergarten??
On his first week of school, I was really nervous. There were going to be big 5th grade kids out on the playground and with all the talk of bullying, I think my anxiety about Brayden starting elementary school was greater than his. He is only 5 years old!
For the first week, I went out on the play yard to make sure that he got to the right line, put his backpack at the right spot, and found his teacher when the bell rang. To my credit, I was one of many parents out there doing the same thing. And as I watched him wander aimlessly around the playground going from one thing to the next, my heart sank.
I felt so sad for him that he didn’t know anyone and wondered what he was feeling since my heart felt so heavy. I wanted to cry, in fact, I did shed a few tears over it. But one of the many lessons he has taught me over the last 5 years is that we can attribute so many feelings to our kids based on our own, that it becomes hard to separate their feelings from ours.
I had to step back ( after many tears) and realize that Brayden doesn’t mind playing by himself and the feeling of not knowing anyone in those first few days didn’t bother him at all. I am the girl who always wanted to be with other people and felt sad if I didn’t have anyone to play with. That feeling still carries over to my adult life; I am totally extroverted. Today on the playground, Brayden has his established group of friends that he plays with and never seems to play alone, and those earlier days were just part of his own transition period.
Given the newness of the elementary school situation and the aimless wandering on the playground, you can imagine my shock when day three rolls around and Brayden says to me “mom I wish you would just do the drop off”. He meant that he wanted me to pull around to the front of the school and just let him get out of the car and go in by himself!! Didn’t he know that I needed more time to get used to this whole thing??
How do we encourage our children to be confident and independent and still keep them safe?
As a parent, I know that it is my job to make sure that my kids have a sense of independence. I want them to know that they are capable of doing many things on their own, like getting their own cereal in the morning, picking up their rooms, bringing their laundry basket to the washing machine- but walking into school by themselves when there are big kids out there and possibly strangers… wow, that is a lot for this mom!
It is a constant balancing act between encouraging their independence and keeping them young and close. It seems like a really fine line that we have to draw when everything inside of us just wants to protect them, always.
I know that I have to let my children go out into the world and learn how to be independent thinkers and doers, but I constantly struggle with where that line gets drawn.
Also as parents, we need to be able to move about our days knowing that we are absolutely doing the best things we know how to for our kids, and for me, that is making sure that Brayden makes it to his class safely.
Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow!!
How would you solve the “drop off” situation? ( I know what I did (you will hear tomorrow…), I would love to hear what you would do!)