Today was “transition day” at my boys’ preschool. They go to school year round, but the summer is camp-like with lots of outdoor and water play, games, and activities. The school uses the playful summer months to get kids accustomed to their new environments so that they are ready to get down to business when fall comes around. I think it is a great idea.
My youngest son has been at this same school for almost a year now. Regardless, he still holds onto my leg, pouts, and sometimes cries during drop-off. I know he is fine a few minutes after I leave because I’ve spied on him many times. Sometimes, he even refuses to leave the class with me at pick-up. He just likes to make drop-off difficult for his teachers and me.
A few days ago, my friend suggested that I try “bribery” to make drop-off easier. She even suggested that I promise to drive him straight to the toy store after school. Of course, I swore I would never bribe my kids to behave correctly. I dismissed the idea almost immediately.
Then, I read an article I found on Twitter posted by @circleofmoms. It suggested a “reward system” of gummies for going to bed without a fight. You can’t fool me, “reward system” is PC for “bribery.” No way.
Come Monday, I got scared. If the little one was already so tough to leave, how bad was transition day going to be? New room. New teachers. I was shaking in my flip flops.
So, I did it. I told him he could have a new toy if he promised not to pout or cry at drop-off. I also him that he didn’t have to cling to me because he could give me the biggest hug in the world and get all of his hugs out before I left. I’m weak. What do you want me to say?
And, it worked. I could tell he was thinking about having a minor melt down as we approached the door to his new room. I reminded him about his surprise and he held it together. We went in and he gave me a neck-breaking hug. I was so proud of him. So, call it what you want, but it made both of us happier. I’m not going to use this technique for everything, but for things that are a constant problem this may be the trick. I guess there is just one more of those things on my list of “I’ll never” that I can scratch out. If you promise not to judge me, I’ll give you a lollipop.