'Heavy with grief and guilt': Sydney mum shares big school 'disappointment'

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied 

Some kids feel apprehensive about their transition to 'big school' when they face moving from a preschool environment, to primary school. Others find it hard to wait, spending night and day in their new school uniform in the lead up to their big day - the first day of school.

So it was for Sydney mum Chrystal Lynch's son Chevy, who started Kindergarten at his NSW school earlier this month after leaving his preschool of two-and-a-half years.

Expectations were running high, according to Chrystal.

"'Big school' had been this bubble that had been growing and growing for years now, with his elder cousins and neighbourhood friends heading off to big school," she told Essential Baby.

However after just three days the five-year-old came home feeling dejected, saying "it's not what he thought big school would be like."

She took to a Sydney parenting Facebook page to relate her feeling of sadness that his bubble had burst.

"My son started school this week and is really disappointed," she began."

"He said this morning it's not what he thought big school would be like. And tonight he asked me how long does he have to go there?"

Chrystal, 40, was understandably having all of the feels over it.

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"I feel quite sad about it. That he's disappointed. He'd built it up so much for himself he was so so excited."

She wrote that she tried to temper his expectations but it fell on deaf ears.

"I tried to play it down at times but he just kept building it up and up," she explained, before adding, "He was at an incredible preschool and at home prior to starting so obviously they're going to be hard to top."

She then wrote that he "is bored" with all the colouring in he has done so far.

Far from being a criticism of the school, Chrystal is keen to clarify that it's unrealistic expectations that has prompted the reaction from Chevy.

"I feel as though I've done wrong by him, letting him have this built up idea of what big school was going to be like. I played it down occasionally but not enough and a part of me genuinely thought he was going to love it, despite my reservations around mainstream schooling."

She added, "[Seeing the bubble] burst for him was really a sad moment for his dad and me."

Photo: Chrystal Lynch / Facebook

Photo: Chrystal Lynch / Facebook

Other mums replied - many in the same boat.

"My first was gutted he hadn't learnt to read in the first week and refused to go back!"

Another agreed, saying these first first weeks where schools are getting organised for the year can be tough on school starters.

"It's a big adjustment for them. Hopefully he comes around in time. They are probably still settling on classes, sports day etc. it will get better!"

Chrystal says Chevy's teacher is aware and she feels supported by the school, and that hearing from people who have been through the same thing has made her feel better about it.

"I was feeling very heavy with this grief, and guilt. I can't explain it exactly," she said, adding that she's glad she shared her burden with others.

"Facebook groups are a major support for me. I see over and over again when we share these struggles, we're creating connection... and the sharer feels less isolated as a result, and so do the people who have read their own story in the sharers' words."

A week later, Chevy is "... definitely better, but still frustrated with the lack of doing and the amount of waiting and sitting."

​Chrystal is reassured by the experiences of others, many of whom have benefited from the passing of time.

"It gets better... the teachers are just trying to settle them gently and see where all of them sit... it's the most amazing year once they get through the first exhausting term... I promise you he will love it... mine 'hated' it for the first bit but it's all so fresh and different... he will find his groove," one commenter wrote.

Chrystal says now, "I have tried to let it go and just see these first few weeks as nothing more than a transition period and will assess it all further then."

It can be a tough process, but most kids adjust eventually.

Big love to all the school starters, especially the reluctant ones pining for preschool days. You can do this!