The Imaginings of my 4 year old boy!
It has at times felt as though my sweet Sonny boy made an active decision to make me as crazy as possible. From 8 months old he has been a thrill seeker, climbing everything in sight and exploring whatever he could get his chubby little fingers on. Tomorrow he starts school and while he and I are both happy and excited and very much looking forward to it, I know he's anxious. Anxiety in children presents itself in many different ways and often it is easy to mistake for bad behaviour, tiredness and stubbornness. I regularly reprimand Sonny for some behaviour or other that I don't like or don't think is appropriate and I forget that he's an adventurous 4 year old who has amazed everyone who knows him with his resilience and easy going attitude to life. I have photographs of him covered in bruises from launching himself down the stairs on a bike or skateboarding off the roof of the car. All things he believes are within his capabilities and perfectly OK to do.
We were in the park last week and a couple of dogs were fighting. Sonny saw the whole thing and I wasn't close enough to shield him from it. He has asked lots of questions and has been fixated on the subject since it happened. I know this worry of his about these dogs coming to get him is not necessarily anything to do with dogs but that he is feeling insecure and out of his comfort zone because he's unsure what is expected of him when he goes to 'big school'. The crying and furious temper because I have said he can't have any more bananas (genuinely now, my kids really love fruit!!) is because what happens next is out of his control. He is nervous about a neighbour of ours that he has never even met before and calls him 'The one who threw Alex's bike' because he is worried his teacher won't like him.
I know this child, I know his moods and I know his feelings; he is a part of me! I know he's feeling anxious and I know I can't help him with that. All I can do is hope that he has the very best day possible tomorrow. I hope his teachers see how far he can go if they understand him. I pray he doesn't embarrass me but I know he probably will.
Children are often anxious when there are big changes happening, starting school ( and a new pre-school) are a huge deal to them. As practitioners, at Potter's House we make the transition as smooth as we can. Until a week ago, I would have sworn that Sonny had a great transition and would say good-bye at the door and not look back. He's ready!
Now, I'm not so sure. Now I think he might want to cuddle me for a bit longer. He might even cry. So might I actually.
If you every have any concerns about anxiety in your child, there is some great advice and support out there: www.youngminds.org.uk/anxiety