New shoes, new backpack, new pencils, and new fears. This is a time of year I have been on all sides of, and I think it can be harder on the parents then it is on the children.
As a child, the start of school was scary and exciting. I loved shopping for school supplies and getting everything labelled and ready to go. It was exciting to put on my new shoes and take my backpack full of shiny new things to school and see what the day had in store. There was always new students and teachers and classes and the potential of learning was so high. It was scary too, I wasn't sure I'd know anyone in my class and you never know how a new teacher will be... I was so nervous somedays I didn't want to go, but I always settled in nicely within a week or two.
Working in the school and watching the students get ready for their day was always interesting. I worked with the little kids, mostly preschool aged, and they were always so quiet and shy the first few days. There would be parents who just dropped them off, set them up, and said goodbye, and there were parents who hated to leave and would wait around almost the whole first day and some of the next few as well. I won't say either was wrong, as each child is different, but normally the ones who had parents hug them, wish them a good day, and leave, settled faster and got into a routine easier then the others. (Too bad I'm of the former group myself...some things are just easier to say then to do!) There would always be one or two children who cried for a while, if it was just once or twice the parents could wait outside the door and hear it calm down, if it was constant the only solution seemed to be for mom to walk away right after drop off and we would jsut start the day. It's hard to tell with children what they will do, but they need to know mommy believes they can do it so they can believe in themselves too.
Now as a mom I detest when she cries at drop off. It is so hard to walk her into a new class with teachers she's only met once and a group of new children, then leave. Somedays are better then others. There have been days she's hugged me and run off to play, and days where I've pried her off my leg and watched the teacher keep her from following me down the hall. This is the worst becasue I don't know day to day how bad it will be, and I'm never sure which days are harder. When she goe nicely it feels wonderful and relaxing, but minutes later the "she doesn't need me as much" thoughts start. It's hard to see that as a good thing, but if I want to raise an independant adult she needs to start learning in childhood... The days she clings to me I feel wanted and loved, but guilty for leaving her even though I know it's the best. My solution was to offer the choice of going to school nicely or me removing her from class. It was hard, and I don't encourage ulitmatums or hard choices for children, but at some point I needed to address the fact that maybe she just didn't want to go, or wasn't ready. It helped for a while at least...
As I watch all the moms and children getting ready for the first day I am wondering if this is all harder on them or on mom. They get to learn and meet new friends, and mom gets a little time to herself (who am I kidding, at least half of the moms are going home to put away as much laundry as possible before it all gets unfolded again by small helping hands) but sometimes it's hard to know what to do when that little voice isn't calling out every 2 minutes. Remember that it's better for them to learn a little independance and confidence now, and to know that you believe in them and you think they can do it, then to try and teach it to them later by coddling them now. They grow so fast, we have to grow just as fast or someone will get left behind.
Good luck and