Today marks another of what seems to be many big changes in family life at the moment, because today is Jake and Sam’s last day at their nursery. For Sam this is because we are moving house, so he will start at a new nursery when we move. But for Jake this is his last ever day at nursery before going to ‘big school’ in September.
It was difficult to judge how Jake was feeling about it this morning. He seemed excited about the fact of his last day, and he really enjoyed making a thank you card with Karen yesterday. But he also seemed a bit sad too. We had already noticed a change in him over the last couple of weeks as many of his friends left after their ‘graduation’, so for him things were already changing. On the other hand he is also excited about going to see his Grandparents next week, then moving house, then starting big school. It’s a lot for him to take in.
Jake started at his nursery when he was about nine months old and, apart from a few wobbles, has thoroughly enjoyed his time there. He has made friends, learned lots of new things, and got on very well with his teachers. For me it’s now difficult to imagine what it was like to first take him into the baby room, but when I try to, it fills me with so much amazement as to how much he has grown physically, intellectually and emotionally over that time. How he has, as he moved through the classes, gone from being a baby to become a toddler, and then a boy. That he has taken most of this in his stride, too, is equally amazing.
However, bearing in mind how much more change is coming up in the next couple of months, means that we have to take a lot of care in how we present it, and how we go through it as a family. I think we’ve done o.k. so far because Jake seems to be up for what’s ahead, so we need to make sure that this doesn’t lead to disappointment.
Managing expectations is something that I have long been familiar with in a work setting, but I also find that it is also something that is relevant in a family setting too. It’s easy to create some sort of great future utopia for our children, but it also needs to be realistic: something that we can deliver. I find that one of the worst feelings is when the boys are disappointed, they can’t hide it at that age which is good but hard to deal with.
So as Jake and Sam have their last days in Schoolroom and Toddlers respectively today it will be important to help them make their transition into the next phases of their lives by being positive but truthful about what lies ahead. But if we can offer them the background security and confidence in our home and family life let’s hope they can really fly to the next challenge.
As Buzz Lightyear (might) say: To nursery and beyond!