While change can be a good thing, I think the vast majority of us struggle with adjusting to big transitions in our lives. As a parent, I hope I can teach my children not to fear change. Or at least not to let the fear get the best of them.
That lesson, as it seems, is going to be a tough one for my three-year-old. Ever since he was a wee one, Littleman has had a hard time with changes. He’s a bit of a sensitive soul and, while I wouldn’t describe him as wimpy, he definitely has a tendency to cry when he gets overwhelmed or scared by something. It’s more the social situations that get to him, rather than a fear of doing physical things.
The most recent incident has been his move to the next age group at daycare. Every year, around this time, the kids all move up a level as the kindergarten kids age out of the daycare and start school. And every year, around this time, Littleman loses his shit.
I get it. I was a shy kid. I remember the nervous tummy feeling on the first day of school. Ugh. It’s awful. So I can totally understand how he must feel. But I want him to learn that, while it’s OK to feel nervous and sad for a while, new things can be fun too.
We’re nearing the end of week-two in the new class. Each morning, there are fewer and fewer tears. He still clings to my legs, but it’s taking less time to pry him away. The teachers say he’s fine throughout the day now (last week, not so much).
What I’ve come to learn about him is that he needs time to warm up to new things. He’s a quiet observer when he is in a new situation and he prefers to sit on the sidelines and watch until he feels comfortable. When we go to someone’s house or people he doesn’t know come to ours, we don’t force him to be social right away. We let him choose when he’s ready to engage. And, once he’s ready, he typically engages wholeheartedly.
I don’t think this is a bad trait to have. In fact, I like that he doesn’t jump right into things without thinking. But I hope that, as he gets older, he will be able to get comfortable with change more quickly and understand that new situations can be good.
In the meantime, I’m trying to remain patient with my little guy because I know how scary change can be.