Surviving their very first “off to school” day

Summer is nearing an end, and children are preparing to go to school or have already begun. For some of you, this is a repeat performance, but some of you are experiencing the “empty First day of schoolnest” for the very first time and entertain a profusion of ambivalent feelings. Your “baby”, who you have fed, clothed, nurtured, and loved is venturing off to a room filled with many other children of similar age, to fend for themselves out from under your protective shadow. How will this ever happen??!!

By the end of day one you soon find out that things went fairly well. Here come those feelings again. “I guess he/she doesn’t really need me anymore. I’m so happy it went well. They are sure growing up fast. That really makes me feel old.”, etc. Rest easy parents. As the leaves are beginning to turn strikingly beautiful colors, and the smells and sounds of Autumn begin circulating, so too your children are changing and entering a different but predictable and natural stage in their lives. Sure, you have looked over their every move for the past five years but it’s about time they find out how to do some of this for themselves: a process that will never stop.

Human beings are the only creatures in the animal kingdom who hold onto their young, emotionally and physically, for such a long time after birth. Most animals are born and within hours are up on their feet and moving around the immediate area and some even begin finding and eating food for the very first time. It is not a lack of mothering that this represents but a practical issue that most animals do not have permanent homes in which they will stay for a couple of years. No, they must be able to move around, looking for food sources, protecting themselves from larger predators; not held behind by a small image of themselves needing minute to minute nurturing and requiring some form of transportation.

Most animals form packs or herds because there is safety in numbers; they can and must be out in the world foraging and raising more young so that the species may continue.

It’s not that your children don’t need you anymore, they don’t need you for the same things. But they need you just as much if not more than they did as an infant. It is you who will instill values into these youngsters that they will add to their growing library of such things and take with them for ever. No small task! And by the way, look in the mirror; you’re no older than you were the day before they left for school.

About the Author

Dr. Joseph Skoloff received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his medical degree from The Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He is a past Vice Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics, a past Chairman of the Infection Control Committee at the Loudoun Hospital Center and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In his 41 years as a practicing pediatrician he has kept hundreds of kids and families healthy and safe and plans to continue to do so for years to come. Dr. Joe believes strongly in the combined power of parent and physician working together for the health of their children. He is an advocate for children everywhere and and adheres strongly to the principles of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr Joe is a member of the PedSafe Expert team


One Response to “Surviving their very first “off to school” day”

  1. I did OK at the first day of school up until this year when my youngest started first grade – when I set the table for two at lunchtime and realized she wasn’t coming home! The most over-used phrase related to parenting that is also the most true is ‘it goes so fast!’
    .-= Rebecca Wear Robinson´s last blog ..What can elephants teach us =-.

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