First day drop off jitters? Our own Mrs. Stevens gives her perspective on drop off.
As a preschool teacher and a mother I know how hard it is to drop your baby off at preschool that first day! I have worked with children in some way since I was a teenager so everyone thought when I had my own kids it would be "old hat". Well that couldn't be further from the truth. While babysitting and being a nanny did give me experience with certain aspects of parenting, I was not prepared for the emotions! You know that saying about your heart walking around outside your body? Yeah that! Sure I loved the children I cared for, but never this kind of love, protectiveness and to be honest... sheer panic that my husband and I are now solely responsible for this little life!
I stayed home with Lily and I really savored that time together. But when she was about to be 2 I knew it was time to get her into a program, for her to get some socialization with children her age and interaction with other adults outside her little world. (and for me to get a few kid free hours to get stuff done) We researched and found a wonderful preschool about a mile from our home. On the first day of school we were all so excited! That is until it came time for me to leave! The look of panic in her eyes broke my heart and I felt so guilty leaving her. My brain knew this was ridiculous, we fully trusted the recommendations we got from friends. We met and loved the director and teachers. I knew she was going to be fine there...in fact thrive! But boy was that hard. I got down on the floor and started to try to engage her in play, but I knew I needed to go. When I got up to leave she clung to me! With tears in my own eyes I promised her ice cream and a trip to the park after school if she just stayed and played with her new friends. I barely made it down the hallway before I burst into tears.
Later, I was telling this story to a friend who was a "seasoned" mother and she said something that really resonated with me. She said "Girl you need to drop and run! Just hug and kiss her, tell her you love her and walk out the door! As harsh as that sounds you have to realize that she is looking to you to gauge her emotions. If you are crying and hesitant to leave, why would she feel safe? You have to show her that you fully trust the person you are leaving her with and that she will be fine! Its ok to cry but save it for the car!" From the next day on I did just that! I hugged and kissed her and peeled her off of my neck, handed her to her teacher and said "I love you and I will see you after lunch" and walked out the door. The crying stopped (for both of us) after a week or so. She grew to trust and love her teacher and made great friends! And I got to have a guilt free 4 hours!