Preschool is important and has been proven to give kids a jump start to learning. But sending your children off to preschool is a huge step for both the child and the parent. My first daughter (now 18) started preschool at age 2.5 because it was necessary. I was in college and needed child care and she was old enough for the local YMCA preschool program. Her first drop off was heartbreaking. She screamed, cried and tried to follow me out of the school. I went to my car and drove to my first college class with tears streaming down my face. It was horrible BUT she ended up loving it!
Fifteen years later, when my second daughter started preschool at age 2 years 10 months, I was a bit apprehensive. I mean she was home with me every day and we did lots of crafts, library trips, walks and play dates together so wasn’t I already kind of offering her a kind of home schooling preschool experience? I was persuaded by my sister, who is a preschool teacher and mother of 5, to send her two days a week. The first day was so hard. But not on her, on me. I dropped her off, got in my car and went home. No tears (at least on her part), no screaming or chasing me to the car. The empty car seat in the back seat made me feel like I was forgetting something.
At home it also felt empty. I was alone for the first time in almost 3 years. I wondered how she was, did some laundry, checked the clock a million times, took a super long shower and ran to the grocery store. At 12:30 I went back to pick her up and hearing her excited voice exclaim “mama” as I walked in I knew everything was OK. She was a little more clingy during this period but it was a transition so it was to be expected. Our overall experience was positive which made me happy.
I have since become a preschool teacher and have learned so much since the days I dropped off my daughters at preschool. Every child is different. Some kids cry from the minute they get in the door and there are others who break from their parents without a second thought. Your child not crying doesn’t show that he/she doesn’t love/need/miss you. The kids who kick, scream and cry aren’t acting out or displaying how much they love you. No matter which type of experience you have know that they are all normal.
– That’s IT Mom Erika