School is Stressing Out My Kid! (And It Hasn’t Even Started)

School stress

A couple of weeks ago I started to panic about my son’s lack of preparedness for starting kindergarten.  I was trying to get him excited about the idea of going to school and would work it in to almost every conversation, hoping that I could psych him up.  I didn’t stop to think about the effect this was having on him until one evening we were having dinner and started talking about his behaviour.

Ever since we finally made the move to the farm Big Boy has been getting more and more hyper each day.  One day last week he spent almost the entire day running around like a chicken with its head cut off!  He wouldn’t stop at all, I tried directing his energy into a specific game, didn’t work.  I tried snuggling on the couch with him (because often when he’s tired he gets rammy) and he lasted all of thirty seconds before he started kicking his feet and pummeling me with his arms.

I thought that it was all just him dealing with the new surroundings, kind of like a dog that has lived in the city its whole life being taken out to the country, the thing goes ape running around investigating all the new smells and testing its limits.

Big Boy has definitely been testing his limits.  When we lived in our old house he would quite happily spend the day playing cars in the living room, blowing bubbles on the deck or snuggling on the couch watching YouTube on the iPad.  Now I can hardly get him interested in the internet when I want him to sit for a bit.  (Bonus: I was right about both boys getting a whole lot more physical activity by living somewhere that they didn’t have to be gated in all the time!)  During the last month his days have included much more time outside (helping the contractor build things, running around on the grass, chasing his brother with a power tool, being chased by his power-tool-wielding brother) but they’ve also included a whole lot more of the type of behaviour that I find unacceptable.

He has now started to turn his back on me when what I’m saying doesn’t please him, he’s started to demand things instead of asking for them, he’s started talking back and just plain ignoring me when I ask him to do something.  I thought that this was maybe just the behaviour that was due when he turned two (it never really showed up, I kind of sailed through the Terrible Twos with him) but then I started thinking that the move triggered it.  The move was a month ago now and I thought (hoped?) that the behaviour would lessen as he adjusted to life here instead of getting worse.

Then I started thinking that maybe all my talk of school was freaking him out so I figured I was ease up and see what happened.  It hasn’t been long enough to say for sure but over the last couple of days there has been marked improvement both in his behaviour and in my mood!  Then, yesterday I was on the phone with a friend and Big Boy wanted to say hi.  She is a former high school teacher with two kids and three grandkids so she never minds speaking to him.

“Hello lady!”

“Hi guy, how are you?”

“I’m good.”

“Are you going to go to school soon?”

Big pause “…Yes”

“That will be exciting for you!”

“Yes…. ….. …. but Mommy won’t be there”

My biggest worry about sending him to school was how he would cope without me.  Other than when I was in hospital after Little Man’s birth, I have never spent an entire day away from either of the boys.  Looking back now I think that I may have done them a disservice!  My sister has never had a problem leaving someone else to look after Princess, when she starts school next year it’ll just be one more new person for her to make friends with, one more new room for her to explore.

I’m not sure if Big Boy’s conversation reminded him of his fears about school or not but last evening I went out and left the boys home with my parents.  There was nothing in our goodbyes that made me believe that Big Boy was terribly bothered by my going out but when I got back home my parents told me that just before bed he had been absolutely covered by a red blotches on his skin.  My mother covered him with calamine lotion and put him to bed but they both cautioned me to keep an eye on him come morning.  This morning there was no sign of any redness, my mother thought that he had run afoul of some sand fleas but I’m thinking more along the line of hives.

Either way, I have to watch him.  I need to know if his behaviour and/or skin irritation is at all related to his thought on starting school…and if they are I need to figure out how to put him at ease in the next two weeks.

He’s always been very afraid of new experiences (or new foods!) and we usually have a fight to get him to try anything new.  Everything that he’s tried so far has ended up being things that he loves to do (tire swing!) so I’m confident that if I can get him on the bus and to school that first day then he will be fine.

Here’s hopin’ anyway…


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6 thoughts on “School is Stressing Out My Kid! (And It Hasn’t Even Started)

  1. Aww…it can be tough for some kids to be away from mom for the first time. I have never been away for more than a few hours from my youngest. He sometimes has a hard time separating. I have another entire school year before he goes to preschool. You might want to try taking him to the school before it starts so he can see where he will be going??


    • He’s been and loved it which is a good sign! The hardest part will be getting him to choose to go when he knows that I won’t be with him. I’m hoping he’ll get distracted by all the new kids and games and just say goodbye without a fuss!


  2. Easing up on the school talk is definitely a good idea. Make it normal. Perhaps closer to starting day, talk through how the first day will go, especially ‘and then you’ll get on the bus to come home and I will be here waiting for you’ (putting him on a bus on the first day must be tough – that’s not very common here). Also ‘like all the other kids’. Can you take him to the school before school starts? Walk around, have a play on the playground? And talking to the school/teacher can help. Good luck. First one off to school is tough on parents too! 🙂


    • Thanks for the pep talk! We live just outside a small town so we’ll be spending more time at the community park where we’ll hopefully meet some future classmates. We went to school one day back in May for orientation and he had a fantastic time so I think he’ll be okay once he gets there.


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