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Dropping off Children for Preschool

Categories: Back to School / For Parents

Dropping off Children for Preschool: Harder on the Parents?

In my own (limited!) experience as a parent to school-aged children, I’ve notice a pattern when my dropping off my children for the return to school after a break or vacation. On the first day back, Henry and Amelia can barely contain their excitement about returning, seeing their friends, and the “work” that they’re going to start doing in their classrooms. The second day is…not as wonderful.

Dropping off Children at School: Second Day Syndrome

It’s always been a different story for the second day back. They remember being home and cuddling with me and Jeff, who for some inexplicable reason (to Henry and Amelia) also happened to be home during the entire break. (Sidenote: Hooray for corporate shut-downs that coincide with school vacation times!)  My kids remember on that second day that they got to watch extra television, see grandparents, maybe take a trip, etc. They don’t quite understand yet that those things aren’t happening at home without them after they’ve returned to school. When we came back from summer vacation, Henry actually said at one point, “I don’t want you to go to the swimming pool without me!” It was hard not to laugh; only then did I realize that he didn’t understand that summer vacation was indeed “over,” and we were ALL headed back to school and work. On the second day, he would cry at drop-off. HARD. And I would cry in my car. HARD.

I would question my choice to send “my baby” to school. I would be told that he was actually just fine; I would be told that he was HAPPY. I never believed a word. I was sure that Henry was just as upset as I was.

Ms. Chiste would tell me during Henry’s first week of school last year that the tears were fleeting; she assured me that Henry was fine within minutes of drop-off. But it was in fact so much more than that: My little turkey would watch from the window as I returned to my car, the picture of human despair. He would do this until my van exited the parking lot, turn, wipe his eyes, and start playing or working. Most days, he would turn, wipe his eyes, and start laughing with his friends. I can only assume that he would mention to one of his “co-workers,” “I got her again, boys! I think she really bought it today!”.

Yes, my child is a little imp and loves to milk every dramatic situation into an Oscar-worthy performance.  Not every child will treat drop-off with the thespian approach that Henry uses.

Mrs. Berdick has said that many children do come into school genuinely upset about leaving their parents.  They love you; they love their time with you. In their worlds, it’s extremely hard to leave the comfort of their parents. But, Mrs. Berdick stresses, they feel love for the classroom, their classmates, their teachers, and the work that they’re doing here. When they enter the classroom, the tears dissipate quickly and the smiles and excitement return.

As we head back to school after a long weekend away, don’t be surprised if you’re child comes down with a mild case of SecondDaySyndrome. Don’t worry, it passes quickly. About as quickly as it takes for you to exit the parking lot.

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