Anxieties of Transitioning to Kindergarten
Transitions are tough. Regardless of what the transition is – potty training, the big girl/boy bed, the new sibling, etc…But as your child ages and their coping skills improve, you think transitions will get easier, at least most transitions. As my daughter and her classmates looked off into the sky on their PreK graduation day, I felt so excited for the transition that lay ahead.
And then reality set in. A few nights ago my daughter came out of her bedroom about 30-minutes after I tucked her in, sobbing. Uncontrollable tears. I immediately ran upstairs to console her, partially wondering if this was just a trick to avoid going to sleep. But quickly I realized this was no trick. Her plea was “please Mom, please let me stay in Pre-K ONE more year, please, please.” The emotions were pouring out as if something suddenly opened the floodgates.
It started around making friends. What if she didn’tank make any? And riding the bus. “I’ll only ride the bus if Eleanor (our neighbor who is three years older) sits right behind me.” (Unfortunately, this is not possible as kindergartners must sit in the front of the bus and older kids must sit in the back). “I’ll miss Miss Jackie too much” (her current teacher). “Please mom? Please?” “I need to be there to meet Miss Melissa’s baby. You know he’s going to be a boy.” (Miss Melissa is her other teacher.) My heart was breaking, one piece at a time. I tried to reassure her and remind her she will be back to Bright Horizons when the public school is closed, which occurs a mere six schools days after she starts due to Rosh Hashannah. (This opened a whole new can of worms about why her new school will be closed and why she gets out so early each day.) I explained that none of her current PreK classmates would be there next year. She didn’t care. I told her we’re going to an ice cream party JUST for kindergartners right before she starts, but that didn’t help. I went through all the fun stuff we have planned for the next several weeks, the birthday parties, lunch at American Girl, a trip to buy new sneakers, school supplies, clothes, a backpack…but none of it mattered. She couldn’t get over the fact that she’d be leaving the school she’d been at since she was four months old and as a result she couldn’t stop bawling.
I understand her missing her friends and the comforts of the center, but Madalyn is the most outgoing, gregarious five year old I know. In fact, in social situations, we often call her “the Mayor.” As recently as last week on the beach, I watched as she “worked the crowd.” Maddie spots someone of similar age, gets our permission to approach the child and then walks right up and says something like “Hi, my name is Madalyn. What’s your name?” Followed by “would you like to play?” She doesn’t discriminate either. She is confident in talking to boys/girls, older children, even adults. So I struggle with believing she will have a hard time making friends or making an impression on her teacher. She just isn’t a shy child or EVER lacking for words.
My husband and I were recently discussing ways to reassure her. Were we putting too much pressure on her when we say things like “oh, kids going to kindergarten know how to put their PJ’s on” when she asks for help? Are we creating stress by being nonchalant and telling her she’ll do great? And what are we supposed to do with her COUNTLESSLY begging to invite all her PreK friends over? Truth be told, I miss the kids from Bright Horizons as well (afterall, I watched them grow up for the last five years too). So her idea isn’t all that bad but am I just pouring salt into the wound?
Now that the class list just arrived, I want to try to arrange a get-together with the kids in her class. I’m hoping maybe that will help. Ultimately I know this too shall pass, everything always does, but for now I’m desperate for tips so if you have any, please share!
- E-family news: Getting Ready for Kindergarten – What to Expect
- E-family news: Moving on Up! Transitioning to the Next Early Education Classroom