August 28, 2023

Kindergarten Blues

It's been an emotionally trying week here for my newly-minted Kindergartener.
It was to be expected, knowing how hard last year's transition to preschool was.  Despite liking school and telling me that he's eager to go back each day, separation anxiety often gets the best of my son.  Getting him on to the morning bus is a tear-filled event.

"I don't want to be away from Mommy."  "I miss Mommy."  These are his mantras.  And I acknowledge that he is having a difficult time and is sad.  It's a huge transition, for sure, especially that our kindergarten is full-day AND he's riding the bus to school (the bus literally picks up outside our door, it's only a 10 minute ride, and driving him there would be challenging given our one car situation).
My spirited child is having difficulty sleeping at night too. He's already running on a sleep deficit from the past week of early wakings and late nights (despite his early bedtime, he's been taking a long time to fall asleep).  Last night, he was up throughout much of the night, even though Chris slept with him for a few hours he was still tossing and turning.  And again, awake at 5am, scared and worried.  My poor boy.
As his parents, Chris and I just accept that September is going to be tough and that things will get better eventually (they have to, right?) and we just have to wait it out.  But I keep thinking about what I could do differently, could have done differently.  Did I not prepare him adequately for being away from me?  Should I have sent him to a camp or daycare this summer? 

Truthfully, I know it probably wouldn't have worked.  He's always been emotionally dependent on his parents, especially me.  Chris and I often remark that even since birth, Soren has viewed us as his security blankets.  He was never one to take a pacifier, lovey, thumb, or any other kind of self-soothing technique.  We are his comfort, and it's no surprise that he's having trouble adjusting to full days without us. 

Soren is the kind of child whom I'd characterize as intense.  He lives his emotions to the highest level--when he's happy, he's over-the-top elated, when he's angry, oh boy watch out.  So I know this is normal for him to have such an extreme reaction to kindergarten.  I'm just hoping that he's at least enjoying some parts of school and making new friends.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to suck my thumb and curl into a ball myself.  Or at least have one more comforting cup of coffee.


  1. This sounds very much like our son. Every year the past three years has been a rough transition, even though he has been in day care. We opted to keep him in private K at day care, so there are no extra bus rides, and extra transitions from school to day care after lunch, but he is already having meltdowns in anticipation of being in a new classroom with a new teacher. I am dreading next year when he will ride the bus to first grade.

  2. He looks so grown up! I'm sorry he's not thrilled with school yet. Hopefully he'll get used to the routine and make some friends in class soon. You can also tell him Jasper refers to it as "army school." Maybe that will make him laugh...

  3. Aw! I hope he enjoys it. My daughter was in Kindergarten last year and really liked it.

  4. I totally get this. Separation anxiety is just as tough on the mom. There's very little you can do besides stay calm, reassuring, and open to listening. That takes a TON of emotional energy! My daughter is the same. We actually delayed kindergarten this year to give her one more year to catch up-- and oh boy, I'm going to need my reserve of emotional energy for that transition.

    Hang in there. I know it's tough.

  5. I'm right there with you! For my son it HAS gotten better - he no longer screams when I drop him off, although he does still make a very sad face and is still too shy to talk in class. Fortunately my son's school has a program that helps kids like him transition, so I just gave my consent to have him participate.

    It is tough.

    But it will get better.



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