The time has come. School is back. Well, school at school is back. The kid hasn’t been on a school campus since March 2020 and, this week, he is starting the first grade. His entire kindergarten year was online from the kitchen table. Now, we are preparing for the 1st grade; stepping onto a brand new playground, gracing the hallways of big kid school, all during a global pandemic. Luckily, attending Montessori preschool gave him a sense of how things would work. They introduced him to a bell schedule and, the environment mimicked elementary school. Hopefully, things won’t look too foreign for him.
There are so many things I am worried about. Is it safe? Will there be social distancing? Will he experience anxiety separation? Are we ready for the commute? Is it safe? (Yes, again.) I am not sure who is more nervous and anxious, me or him. With just a week or so left before the big day, I had to come up with a few things to help soothe my anxiety and also help us ease back into the school routine.
Talk about it (often)
With my kid, the more we talk about it, the comfortable he becomes with whatever “it” is. I try to answer all of his questions before he asks them. If I tackle the who, what, when and, where, as much as possible. This way, when “it” approaches, there are little to no surprises and he remembers, “oh yeah, we talked about this.”
Get back on the routine (early)
During the summer, especially this summer, I mostly let the kid do his own thing. There is no set bedtime or wake-up time. This is mainly because the longer he sleeps in, the more time I have to work uninterruptedly. Around a week or so before school starts, I start the bedtime routine back up again. Shower, story-time and, in bed as if we have somewhere to go in the morning.
Screen time goes back to “limited.” No more all-day iPad hours. Starting this routine earlier helps avoid the shell shock of not having it glued to his eyes all the time.
During Kindergarten at home, I wrote out a schedule for him on something large enough to be posted on the wall in his room. I’ve done the same for this school year. A schedule leaves out any ambiguity. At any given time we both are aware of what we are supposed to be doing at any given time before “free time.”
No Long Goodbyes
The first day of preschool for the kid I was a nervous wreck. I was just so worried he would be a wreck. When it was time to say goodbye, I wanted to hold on o him so tight. As oi was hugging him, the school director stopped me mid-hug. “It’s time for mommy to say goodby now.” She gave me a look and a nod and, I knew she was saying, “don’t prolong this.“
It’s going to take everything not to hold on tight and for long. I know if I do, it’s only going to make separating worse. The plan is to just rip the bandaid off. One quick hug and if he’ll let me, one quick kiss and go our separate ways. Fingers crossed.
I am pretty confident these things will help us. And even though I couldn’t wait for this day, I know I will miss him. Funny how that works. Cheers, to back to school!
How are you gearing up for the kids to return to school?