The First Few Days
Thoughts & Reflections
As we prepare for school to resume, we’re getting ready in so many ways. New pencils are sharpened, well-loved materials are arranged beautifully on the shelf. Labels are made and placed on cubbies, ready to welcome students.
Some names are familiar, friends returning for yet another magical year. Some names are unknown, brand new children, a friend yet to be made, a personality yet to be discovered.
We thought we’d go over a few things to expect in the first few days when starting at a new school.
(1) Don’t expect to hear too much, don’t be surprised when you hear everything.
When you pick up from the first day, it’s natural to want to hear, who did you play with?? What did you do?? Did you color a picture for me?? Who is your best friend?? Do you love it there?? Conversation will come. Remember hungry and tired, the first day might be a bit of a blur. Anything your child wants to share is wonderful. Names might come up later, an activity they did again and again, someone who helped in a time of need. It might all bubble out, or it might be a silent back seat, looking out the window before falling soundly asleep before lunch. Whatever it is, is good.
(2) There might be emotions.
Every emotion! So incredibly excited for this new adventure, tears, more hugs, gleeful pickup and woeful drop off. It’s hard to be new, the familiar is comforting, this is a transition, and transitions can be hard. Be patient, be gentle with yourself, ask questions if you have concerns. A tearful drop off does not mean this isn’t a good place for your child, it just means they’re going to miss you.
“It can take a bit of time to adjust to a new place, new people, a new routine.”
(3) Hungry and tired might emerge.
New surroundings, new people, different stimulus are all incredibly exhausting. Figuring out how to be in this new space takes a lot of energy, which might result in earlier bedtime, longer naps, more snacks. We’ve also noticed a link between Hungry and Tired, and a shorter fuze, emotions closer to the surface, tears perhaps at the ready. Read this post for more on that.
(4) One day might not be like the next or like the last, but it will settle.
The first day might go off without a hitch, and the second might be tearful and need a bit of assistance from the teacher. It’s hard to walk away from a crying child, but if you feel the school is a good fit, take a breath, and remember, six weeks six weeks six weeks. If you can, tap into a time when you were doing something new, or had to walk away from someone you love — a trip alone, going to college, starting a new job, moving to a city all by yourself. As adults, we have the gift of seeing what is good in the future, giving ourselves consolation prizes, looking at the clock and counting down the minutes until we see the one we love again. For a child, the momentary pain is all they feel, until some lovely and comforting distraction comes their way, and they realize this is a good place. A good first day might be followed by a week of tears, a woeful goodbye one day might be followed by a casual wave and “bye Mom! I’m okay!”
(5) Look back in six weeks.
When children start at Baan Dek, we like to say, look back in six weeks. It can take a bit of time to adjust to a new place, new people, a new routine. Be patient. Six weeks passes in a heartbeat, right around the time we start to feel like this has always been what we do!
Hopefully these tips are helpful. Know you’re not in this alone. Generations of parents have watched their heart walk off on two legs into school, and felt the same bittersweet melancholy you’re feeling. Rejoice in all the ways you’ve set them up for success, welcome them home with a warm hug, know you’re sending them off held in love, and it will all be okay.
Written by:Charlotte Wood