It's All a Process - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

It's All a Process

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It's been a while since my last posting because the idea of the blog was to share my experiences as we prepared for Macy to start kindergarten.  However, as I shared in past postings our family faced some challenges when school started so this entry is to share an update on where we are today and to bring my blogging to an end.

For the first month or so of school we struggled because Macy didn't want to go.  Once she was there the tasks and projects were fun and she did well on the academic side, but the social adjustment was a monumental challenge.  As she put it "she would look around and not know any of those people and it made her sad because she missed us."  Mike and I came to understand that what was really going on was her very natural reaction to having her daily routine-and everyone in it-completely change.  New daycare. New care givers.  New kids to get to know. New experiences and new routines.  That's a lot for a five-year-old.

Those days were not smooth.  There were tears, frustration and there wasn't much to share that didn't smell a lot like parent desperation so I did not blog about it.  Now that I've gained some perspective I think it's easier to put it into words here. 

This has been a challenging time for our family.  We love her so much we simply wanted to make it better-to help her-but we're continually reminding ourselves that this is a big thing for her and what we really get to do is be patient so the end result is positive and we've set her up for long-term success in school!

It's been a patch-work approach to helping her get acclimated and comfortable with this new routine and the new people in her life.  With Macy being the linear thinker that she is, we tried rationally explaining why all kids "get to"(not have to!) start going to school once they turn 5/6 year old.  We also tried understanding and unraveling what she was nervous about and talking her through it.  We tried finding her new currency to figure out what would make her motivated to want to go-the rewards concept.  And many other things.  I'm always honest in this blog so I'm not ashamed to say some days were not shining examples of our wonderful parenting skills.  There were days when we were desperate---we even tried flat out bribery. 

I'm not sure that any one approach was the winner.  Each strategy seemed to help a little bit more.  Most days she's happy and enjoys herself-especially music class and library day-and we can see how she likes learning new things but still struggles some days with the idea that she's spending her time with people she doesn't know.  I try to find small ways to impart that every day she's getting to know the kids and the teachers better and one day she'll look around and feel completely at ease.

If there's been one small thing that seems to work best it's acknowledging that we know she would like it to be different and then I add on something like "you never know, today may turn out to be a great day."   And she responds well to that (rather than me telling her she's going to have a great day.)

It's been a series of baby steps.  I've heard parents say they've gone through extended challenges like this before but every experience is unique so I couldn't quite get my mind around it until we went through this.

We're not completely ‘out of the woods' but progress is such a beautiful thing!  Macy still has days when her anxiety kicks up but they're much fewer and we're inching our way toward a nice comfortable routine where she feels good about her days and can focus on the all the fun stuff.

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