I am having a mom moment this morning so I thought I'd share. My son started first grade this year and after a challenging kindergarten year, we were gearing up for the same this year. You see...my son has a wee bit of a social anxiety issue. Nothing crazy, but enough to hinder him with a smooth drop-off at school. I'm sure there are so many other moms dealing with something similar and I hope I can provide a little bit of hope to their struggle. The entire school year of kindergarten my son fought going into the classroom. He would hide outside his classroom behind a pole, hang onto my shirt so he didn't have to go in etc. It broke my heart everyday, but I knew once he got into class and settled, he had a great day. He had lots of friends and loved his teacher. It was really just the initial drop-off and separation between us that posed the problem. The schools psychologist said from the start of the year that she thought for sure it would pass and by a few months in we wouldn't be dealing with this issue anymore. Sadly, that wasn't the case. Up until the last day of school I had to force my little kiddo into the classroom. Summer ended up being a really nice break from this, but I knew the school year would be starting again and that we would have to conquer this issue again. As the proactive mommy that I am, I contacted the school psychologist towards the end of the summer to set up a meeting with his teacher to help subside any growing fears. This meeting went well and he got to see his classroom and even pick his seat he wanted to sit in. Love his teacher and her empathy! The first day of school came and so did his tears, his struggle and this mommy's broken heart. I cried that first day, yep I did. Fast forward to today and my boy walked right into class by himself, marked his name on the attendance board and sat down in his seat all while this mommy stood at the door of the classroom smiling from ear to ear. He did it! He had a perfect drop-off in my eyes. No mom can ever understand this proud feeling unless they have had a child struggle with such a simple thing. You expect your child to be able to do something like walk into their classroom by themselves because all the other kids are doing it. I'm here to say...even the simplest things take effort sometimes, but you all will get through it.
We are on the 33rd day of school and I'm so excited that the rest of the school year is going to just be wonderful in my eyes.
Now, some may be wondering how we got through this challenging situation...and I'm not afraid to say it...straight up bribery. haha. I know though, that it had way more to do with the fact that my son was able to find comfort within his head and his classroom that allowed him to finally push through his anxiety and make school a comfortable place. The Lego set I have sitting in my family room, unopened helped a little bit I'm sure. We came up with a plan that if he had a certain number of great drop-offs in a row then he could earn the Lego set. We put a "Good Drop-off chart" on the refrigerator and each day he had a good morning he would get a sticker, the visual of seeing his consistency helped as well.
Today was the day that he earned his last sticker and I can't wait for him to get his Lego set. I've seen within in him over the last week and a half a sense of calm come over him in the mornings at school. He looks happy, he's having fun and I am just so proud. And lets be honest, so crazy relieved too. It is a lot of hard work to constantly have to force your child into class, persuade them they are just fine, when you know that internally they are so upset. Well, hip hip hooray for today!!!
I'm proud of you son!