It went down like this: one twin was pretty into it and excited until we walked through the door and I made motions to leave; the other twin was never really into it and was similarly even less into it when I made motions to leave. After extracting myself from their grips and dashing out the door, I stood outside and listened to them scream.
Other parents offered me pained expressions. I wondered if they’d been here, but also couldn’t imagine them ever being here because most of their children walked in, hung their backpacks and waved goodbye. For the record, I’m not sure that’s ever going to happen to me. Like, ever.
And since I’m all up in the #positiveparenthood tools, I decided I’d think about which tool would help with this ugly transition.
Or, real talk: I called my mother, Robin Hauge, and shared this story of enormous tears at preschool drop off, and then she positive-parenthood schooled me.
She said, “Chelsey you need to prime this for them: Today was tricky at drop off, but Thursday is going to be easier when you get to school. Thursday, we will get to school and I will give you a kiss and you will wave bye bye, and it will be fun!”
Trust me I was rolling my eyes. Mostly because I wanted her to understand that my twins cried more than ALL of the other children, and #whatamigoingtodo.
But I knew she was right. And I’ve been doing it.
Priming is telling the child what is going to happen, before it happens. It’s laying the train track long before the train has left the station. It’s thinking about – and articulating – how we want our children to imagine a situation before it occurs.
Why is imagination important? Think about it: when you’ve got something big coming up, you likely think abut it first. Maybe you practice the presentation. Maybe you run it through your head. Maybe you imagine it to be a smashing success. Being able to imagine a positive, hopeful, forward moving outcome to a new situation is the stuff of resilience and grit. Priming is your opportunity to help your child establish the pathways in their brain that allow them to do this for themselves.
So I’ll just be over here, talking to my littles about how we will kiss and high five at preschool drop off, and how it is going to be so, so fun and so, so easy.
It might not be perfect tomorrow, lest you get discouraged! But I will keep trying. I know it will be a little better tomorrow. And even a little more better the next time.