Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Letting go

With Annika starting kindergarten there have been a lot of adjustments and learning curves around here, for both her and for me.  It's amazing all the little things you need to figure out, as the parent.  For instance, how do drop-offs and pick-ups work?  Annika's teacher requires the parents (or whomever is picking up the child) to come to the classroom door to pick up the kid, so that makes it a bit easier for me (I don't have to make any decisions about that).  But what about drop-offs?  The kids aren't allowed into the school until the bell rings at 8:47, so do I stay and wait until Annika goes in, or just drop her off and trust that she gets inside safely?  On days that we walk to school it's not too much of an issue, but when I need to drive her (and I will have to drive her 3 days a week, just to get to our other morning commitments in time), it becomes a little more complicated.  Parents aren't allowed in the school parking lot, and are only allowed to park on the street in front of the school for a few minutes (just to stop and drop).  So if I want to wait with her until the bell rings, I need to park down a side street, and then walk her (and Emmett) into the school yard.  Not too bad now (we did it this morning), but I can see it being a bit of a pain when we get to snowsuits, etc.  And at some point you need to let go, right?

On the first day of school, I walked her right to where her class was lining up by the door and went inside with her (not into her classroom, just to the doorway).  The second day I walked her to the line but didn't go inside.  Yesterday and today I said goodbye at the school yard fence (pretty much where I would drop her off from the car, if I just stopped on the street in front of the school) and said good bye to her there, and let her walk the 20 or so steps to her line by herself (but stayed and watched until she went in).  I asked her today how she felt about it (there are still quite a few parents "hovering" near the line, but there are also many kids there that don't have a parent watching and waiting) and she said she was okay with it, so I think she would manage okay if I just dropped her off at the street.  But would I be okay with it?  Yes, it would be more convenient, but it just doesn't feel quite right to leave my baby unattended.... (there's a crossing guard at the street, but I'm not sure about playground monitors - I haven't seen any around Annika's door).  So, when is the right time to let go?  Am I rushing things, or not?

I'd love to hear some of your experiences with this (specifically sending your first child to kindergarten - I know it will get easier with the second child.  And preferably reasonably current stories - I know things were different "back in the day", but this is the time we're living in now).  Please leave me a comment here, or on Facebook.  Thanks!


Andrea said...

When Joelle went to kindergarten, she was bussed. So she hopped on the bus and was out of my sight straight from there. She was on the "late" bus though, which meant that she didn't have a lot of time between getting to school and heading inside...but it was never a concern for me. But with after school they're also on the late bus which means that they have that extra time outside at the end of the day instead of in the morning. I have never had a worry though and I think the more confident the parents are, the more confident the child is likely to be. As much as we want to hold on to our children, I am a strong advocate of letting go...or at least loosening the reins. :)

If I were you in your shoes, I would be totally fine leaving her. But every parent needs to be comfortable with their own decisions.

LaughingLady said...

I'm quite heartless. I shipped my oldest daughter off on the bus for her first day of kindergarten and let 'er fend for herself!

Sorry, I know that really doesn't apply to your situation! But I also really think kids are tougher than our society allows them to be. She's not really alone or unattended on a school yard full of kids and will be fine on her own.

Tenille said...

Kindergarten is tough. My kids take the bus, but they get off and go straight inside. In your situation I would pull up as far ahead as I could in the line and wait to watch my kid, just to make sure. I would probably do this until I was comfortable. I would make sure she knew where to go, what happens if we're late, what happens if we're early. There should be a teacher/monitor out there to make sure all kids get inside and none are left in the yard when the bell rings.

Meghan said...

I'm in this same predicament - I have to drive Wyatt to school (even though we literally live a stone's throw away) because I also have to bring Paige to daycare and get to work for 9am....but they don't open the doors until 8:50. If I stay with him outside, I am late for work. I'd like to let him just stay by the doors - there are lots of other kids and some parents there now (not sure how long that will last!), but he's such a cautious kid that he's not okay with that yet.