Myth #1: Tears when you drop her off means your child is having trouble leaving you
Teacher truth: Separation anxiety is a two-way street.
Parent revelation: It’s not them; it’s you. “I think the one thing that parents know and expect, but still find surprising, is just how quickly your kids want to be free from you,” says Carrie Anne Badov of Toronto, who will send her third and youngest child off to kindergarten this fall. “Sometimes I drop my older son off and he’s gone before I can even say anything. I’m left standing in the schoolyard, saying goodbye to air.”
Tricia Yoshiki-Palumbo, a kindergarten teacher in Brampton, Ont., says some parents react poorly to the separation—they’re the ones who peek through the window, stand in line alongside their child holding their hand, or, in some cases, walk right into the classroom. “Sometimes you have to tell them, ‘You can’t stay here. You need to leave.” The truth is, kids who may have tears at the gate are usually all smiles by circle time. And, really, especially for kids in half-day kindergarten programs, they won’t be gone long enough to miss you (or vice versa) too terribly.
“I wish I’d realized or had someone point out how short two hours is,” says Jennifer Hicks, a Toronto mom of Liam, 11, Connor, 9, and Rylan, 5. “I can remember sending my kids off to school and thinking, ‘Oh, finally they’ll go to school; I’ll have so much time to myself.’ God, by the time you drop the kids off, get home and put away a few things, it’s time to go pick them up again.”