Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Is My Child Ready for School?

Amanda Lehrman

My son will be 2 in September.  He will start "school".  Some call it Pre-K, some call it daycare but I will call it "school".  I am already having anxiety about it.

We visited his future three mornings a week school the other day and to be honest, everything I write and preach about when out the window.  My fears set in; he's not old enough, he's not ready, he will never be able to leave me.  All that I say about encouraging our children to be independent, believing in them, etc. was gone.  I was a blabbering mess trying to act as this calm, composed mother.  What I failed to realize was that while I was busy worrying that I was pushing my son into something he was not ready for.

My son was standing next to the other kids in the classroom making himself quite comfortable.   He was just standing there, sizing the kids up and then not so shyly, exploring the toys and books in the room.  Not once did he look back for me.  Not once.  I kept waiting for it but it never happened.

As a teacher, I always looked on as my student's parents left them at the door the first few days and said that I would never be like that.  I had to trust the teacher and trust my child and I would never be a blabbering mess.  I would never hover.  I was also not a parent.  You never know how you will act as a parent until you are one.  It is pointless to assume how you will act but as soon as you are holding your newborn son or daughter it all changes.  They don't use the expression your "heart melting" for nothing.

It is easy to dole out advice but when you are in that situation, there is nothing harder.  I have to remind myself of what I say, what I preach, what I believe wholeheartedly.  That if we give out children a little room to breathe, they may just surprise us. They are much more self sufficient than we realize.  We are bringing them up to be independent, to be comfortable in new situations, not to be afraid to leave the nest.  So why is it that when they start to leave, we want to pull them back in?  We must, I must, learn to let them go.  Easier said than done.

Judging someone for how they act or feel is unjust. We never know what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes.  I will never turn my nose up at a parent saying they are apprehensive about leaving their child at school or daycare or anywhere else.  I will never judge someone’s parenting.  Everyone has their own style and finds their way.  We are just there to support each other.  Not only is it an important lesson to learn as an adult but also to remember when your child is trying something new.  We can preach that "it is easy" or "you can do it" but we forget how hard it is to be in that situation.  Whether it is playing a new sport or getting a shot at the doctor, we forget what it is like to be that age, experiencing those emotions.  The best thing we can do is acknowledge their feelings, whether we understand them or not and know that unless we are in that situation at that time, we never know exactly what it feels like for them.  This short school visit hit me like a ton of bricks.  I have never been put in my place so fast. And I like this new place.

*Amanda Lehrman is a mom and a teacher. She holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration and M.S.T. in Elementary Education. As a mom and an educator, she believes all parents and guardians can supplement children’s education by doing simple, fun activities that will instill a love of learning that lasts forever.

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