I really thought that my daughter would be the one not to cry. So on day 3 of kindergarten drop-off I was taken off-guard when the screams of “mommy come back!!” were coming out of her mouth.
Being a stay at home mom, my daughter hasn’t had a lot of time outside of my supervision. She spent a few months at a home day care, but has otherwise been home with me. As soon as she turned 3 I made sure that she was in lots of parent-free activities. I even put her in a week of full day summer camp as a trial run.
But still on day 3 she cried the “ugly cry”.
What did I do wrong?
First, I really think the reason she first started to cry was because she thought that she was supposed to. I could see her at the fence working her face up to make the tears start. That’s when I should have left, never giving her the chance to start. But then her brother started crying, worried about his older sister. Then she just wanted a hug, and then just wanted to me to watch her play, then another hug, but not through the fence this time. By the time I found a teacher to take her, the screams had started.
As I quickly pushed the stroller away I could see other parents’ sad faces reflected in mine. All of us ached for each other and felt the same guilt.
I can leave her crying, I know that’s a normal reaction. But I can’t leave her standing at the fence crying by herself. So the second day I didn’t give her the second hug, but stayed at the fence with her until I found a sympathetic, and free, teacher to come take her hand.
Luckily by day 5 the tears were done. Partly because there was a waiting teacher to take her, prepped from the previous days.
My son goes to school next year and I’m already trying to think of what I can do to help my son, who won’t even be 4 yet. I’m looking into daycare for twice a week for him and hoping the gym daycare is another way to separate from him slowly.
How do your kids deal with separation?