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Preschool Drop Off Was Harder Than I Expected

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I knew it wouldn’t be easy to drop my little guy off at preschool. I expected a bit of separation anxiety and perhaps a few tears. After three straight years together I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it would be hard to place my son in the arms of his teacher and walk away. I thought a lot about what my son might experience, but I didn’t realize how powerful my own emotions would be.

The first few days of drop off my son walked into the classroom with a smile, but I left the school in tears. For the record my husband found it pretty difficult to walk away too. The hardest part was leaving him behind when I knew he really didn’t NEED to go.

Unlike moms who drop their children off at daycare, my son doesn’t need to go to school twice a week for a few hours a day. While it certainly helps me complete invoices for my husband’s billing, prepare dinner, grocery shop in a third of the time and clean the house without little hands placing toys in front of the vacuum cleaner or broom, I could accomplish those tasks with him around. I didn’t enroll him for any of those reasons. I sent him because we couldn’t consistently schedule play dates with other kids and our neighborhood playground is void of children.

I don’t believe that three year olds require socialization, but I did think he would have a lot of fun exploring the world with other children beside him. After a ridiculous amount of contemplation, including investigating    various school philosophies and costs I chose a preschool that offered the best experiences and opportunities for my son. Each week he sings along with a professional music teacher, cooks with the teachers and participates in tons of play based activities alongside eight other children with temperaments similar to his own.

He cried at two of the first five days of school, but the teacher assures me he is fine a few minutes after drop off. (Interestingly those tears did not come on the first two days of school.) Every school night he lays in bed and tells me all about the days adventures; what children he played with, what toys he discovered, what books he read, what songs he sang and which playground he explored.

Despite all of this I must admit that I still find it hard to drop him off. It’s only two days a week, but each morning I get a little sad at the thought of taking him to school.

The first few days I went shopping after leaving the school grounds and decided I really shouldn’t do that anymore. I quickly found myself adding toys and games to the cart that I never intended to buy. I wanted to provide something special for my son to look forward to after pick up. This started out as simple things like baking sugar cookies and taking him to the playground, but I quickly found myself purchasing unnecessary items from the clearance sections of Target. I didn’t buy anything that cost more than two or three dollars, but I believe guilt was factoring into my purchases more than anything else.

Tomorrow is another school day. I will head home after drop off and do not plan to perform any shopping other than buying groceries for at least the next month.

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CheapMom

Saturday 20th of September 2014

Wow my heart goes out to you! Is your son enjoying his preschool? Have things been getting easier?

From what others have told me, it gets easier. But I have no real experience in this. Worst case scenario, you just stop though, so not much to lose.

My daighter is only 2 and I'm having other moms suggest I should put our little one in preschool already! I think it will be a very rough day. Maybe I'll just pass until JK. Or SK. Or grade one...

One Frugal Girl

Tuesday 23rd of September 2014

Thanks for the comment. I'm sorry it has taken me so long to respond. My site has been inundated with spam and it's been difficult to dig out the real comments from the fake ones.

Today my son went off to school without a single tear. It helped that he was only crying at drop offs and that he was happy to get ready for school and to tell me about his day. That led me to believe he enjoyed his day there he just wasn't ready to say goodbye to mom and dad in the mornings.

Every night we lay down to talk about our day and he tells me all about the children in his class and the activities he participated in. Last week he said I used to be sad there but now I'm happy :)

I was on the fence about sending my son at three. I considered waiting for another year, but thought he would really enjoy the experience once he got over the hurdle of separation.

Each parent knows what is best for his or her child. Do not let others sway you. I had people telling me to enroll him at 2 and I knew he wasn't ready.

Denise Browning@From Brazil To You

Thursday 18th of September 2014

I can understand well how you did feel dropping your child at first day of school. I also cried on my children's first day. But I have to say things will get better in the future... I think we wind up getting used to it. Wishing your son a great year!

One Frugal Girl

Tuesday 23rd of September 2014

Today's drop off was nice and easy. No tears. My son actually seems to love school. Every night he details his day and talks about his classmates and activities. I'm hopeful we've seen the last of the tearful separations. I'm hopeful he's already gotten used to it :)