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Trouble Adjusting to Preschool
I had enrolled my 2-and-a-half year old in a two's program for the 2013-2014 year, but had to withdraw him from the program due to separation anxiety issues that surfaced about 4 weeks into the program. There was not an option for me to accompany him to school to get him over the hump, so we just had to leave. I'm now a bit nervous for next Fall. Ideally I'd like to find a preschool that either has the staffing to allow a child who needs more support to receive it, or one that would allow me to attend for a while if things are rough. I'd love to hear from parents who went through this - where did you child ultimately find success? If you tried at 2.5 and that was too hard for your kid, was it magically easier at 3.5, or still pretty tough? What should a parent do when this happens? I'm in Berkeley, but willing to travel to Albany or Oakland for a good program. Mom of a clingy kid
Hi, My almost 3 yr. old (only child) starts preschool this fall. She's never been in day care. She had a nanny up until 14 months old and since then, I've been home w/ her full time. She gets VERY upset when I try to leave her at the gym day care (so that's never worked out) and often asks for me to ''play with'' her at playdates. She is pretty good about playing on her own at home, though, and will stay with a babysitter.
I am very concerned that she will have a difficult time adjusting to preschool, perhaps more than other kids, because she's never been ''dropped off'' before and left for any reason! I am looking for advice on how to make the transition more smooth. Is there anything I can do this summer that might help us both work on this attachment issue (Which I recognize is my problem too) so that preschool will not be as scary? Thanks in advance for your advice Worried Mommy
I think the most important thing is to adopt an attitude of ''this is what is going to happen and I feel completely comfortable and positive about it.'' Also, even after nearly a year I find it easier to drop my daughter off when everyone is outside playing-seems less intimidating to her than when there's a more organized activity. Good luck-it will be great! Preschool Mom
If possible, take her to visit for a week of days prior to her first full day alone without you. Distance yourself from her gradually over the course of the week. (Hopefully the daycare provider will approve of this..some, sadly, do not) On the big day, be very upbeat and positive! When it is time to say goodbye (the teacher should be at your side) do so and go! No turning back, no last hugs and kisses, no promises of being ''back soon'' (children have no idea how soon soon is), simply state when you will return ''after your nap'', ''after your lunch'' or whatever occurs in her schedule. Don't be caught sneaking a peek either, that only makes it worse. Expect crying, and clinging..just keep walking to the car. Call the school as often as you need to to find out how she is doing. They will let you know if she needs to be picked up, a good daycare, however, will work with your child to comfort and settle her without involving you. She needs to get used to it and she won't with you constantly popping in and ''rescuing'' her. It will be hard, worse for you than her probably. I've done childcare for 20+ years and I speak from experience, children do calm in time. Some take weeks, others days, some a month or more. If you trust the provider, like the daycare and need to have your daughter well cared for, stick with it! Children do stop crying!
On a side note, putting him in preschool made his naptime habits heavenly! I was never good at being a scheduled person, but now that he takes the same nap at the same time every day, we just follow the same schedule on the weekends and it's wonderful!!
Don't worry, the best thing you can do is act cheerful, introduce a lot of preschool concepts before your child starts and once you drop them off, don't linger! Just a quick hug, a kiss and leave Very Happy Mom
My 2.4 yr.old daughter has been going to a home-based preschool for the last 5 weeks. She goes 3 days a week (all day 8am-6pm). This is the first time that she has been away from home with someone besides me caring for her because I recently went back to work. I'm not sure if this is the reason, but even after all this time has passed she still cries bitterly when I drop her off. The caregiver says she is ok during the day, does not cry much, eats well etc. I was wondering if others have had similar experiences when they initially started their children at daycare/preschool. Since I work full-time I have to leave her for the full day. Also, there are only 2 other children who go to that preschool since its pretty new (single caregiver, licensed for 8 children). Would it help my daughter if she went to a bigger preschool,with more children so that she gets more involved and would actually like going there or is it simply too early to tell. Thanks in advance for any advice. anon
My almost 3 year old son (his birthday is Feb) just is having a very difficult time transitioning into pre-school which he just started in the New Year.
From what I have read, this is totally normal development, however, as a mother, this has got to be the most difficult things I have had to go through. Basically my son is pretty sad throughout the day and cries on and off saying he ''wants his mommie''....He is attending a Montessori school which appears to have the best resources and materials around. I could not be happier with the support and nurturing we are receiving as a family, (not only my son) has received from the teachers of this particular classroom. Although his teacher tells me he has ''good moments'' she is really helping us out with the transition in a very nurturing fashion. Therefore, I feel like he is in a ''good place' but I cannot help but feeling sad for my son's sadness that he misses home so much. He had been home with an adoring nanny 3 days a week (near 10 hours) and now he in rather large class also for most of an extended day until 4pm. We have taken this slowly as he has only been attending half days and we just started naps there. My son is a very ''attached'' to me in particular and my husband which his teacher says is very healthy. Although we do not want to change this attachment, in some ways, I feel that this ''attachment'' style may have a lot do with his emotional readiness to start school or perhaps this type of program? Intellectually we feel that he can cope and is ready for this challenge. He can be independent, he is very articulate for just turning 3 and usually appears very confident.
My husband and I really like the Montessori method and feel that our son is capable of this type of setting, however, emotionally (at this stage) I am wondering if it is ''too much'' for him or if I really need to just go with the flow here. As I said, I have no reservations that he is getting the nurturing and attention he needs during this delicate time, however, when do I start trusting my instinct to really wonder if this is appropriate for him? There is really no turning back for us as we felt that 3 1/2 years was too late to start in September and we are expecting a baby this summer so we wanted our son to get used to school. I do not think there is going to be any long lasting affect on him from this early experience; however, I am concerned that he is not really adjusting so well yet after one month. I know there are a lot of people out there who agree that ''attachment'' is the way to go and again, I am not being critical about my parenting style but I do wonder if my son's personality would be better suited in a smaller setting, more group style, etc....what can we do to help him make school more positive? Concerned Mom Got the pre-school blues
My son took almost two months to become completely adjusted to preschool. The first couple of weeks he cried every day when I left him, and for several weeks he wrote me sad ''notes'' (with the teachers' help). However, by November, he loved preschool (still does). In fact, the morning after Thanksgiving vacation, I found him sitting patiently on the steps, waiting for me to get ready so we could go. Two really excellent pieces of advice that I received, that helped enormously. First, you really need to believe that YOU ARE DOING THE BEST THING FOR YOUR CHILD. He will pick up how you feel about this. In my case, I knew I had carefully picked out the preschool that best fit his needs. However, it was a much larger place than he had been before, and there was lots of stuff going on. It took a lot of adjusting.
Changing preschools now is just going to require yet more adjusting. Second, make every effort to help him feel more comfortable. Set up playdates with one kid at a time, to help him find people he knows. For my son, the turning point was finding a best friend to hang out with.
One last thing was for me, it turned out to be best to leave IMMEDIATELY upon dropping him off. Staying longer than 30 seconds generally resulted in him crying; if I dropped him at the door, gave him a big kiss, and left, he transitioned better. Figure out what kind of transition works best for your son. I wish you all the best. I know how much this hurts as a mom. Karen
I started my son in the pre-school/daycare arrangement last October (he will be 3 next month). He's also a very attached boy (sometimes even his dad is not good enough when I need to go somewhere during the weekend, not even overnight), he has an acute separation anxiety (crying when guests are leaving after the party), still co-sleep to this day, very hi-maintenance infant and toddler (too long to tell).
Anyway, I started with 3 days/weeks, 6 hrs each. He cried basically like someone has died during drop-off and on-off for 6 hrs, hysterically before nap time until he fell asleep. That was going on for almost 3 MONTHS. The director told me that maybe he's not ready and told me that it would be ok for me to pull him out without worrying about the 'contract' (that's bad, isn't it?). My husband was also ready to pull him out since he was bringing the problem at home, namely, crying in the middle of midnite without actually waking up, throwing tantrum(s) every day for minor things, and in general he was in miserable state.
Anyway, I decided to stick to my plan (as I also need a break from him, and plan to have a second one). I decided to cut his hours to 3 hrs (9-12). So every morning I told him that I will pick him up after lunch. 2 weeks later, he is still crying hysterically during drop-off, but not so much afterwards, every time he's crying, the teachers reminded him that mommy will pick him up soon.
Then, we had to make a trip to Europe for a week (the trip was planned before I know that he would have not been adjusted to preschool after 3 months). Naturally, I was afraid that the trip will worsen his adjustment. Well, in Europe he has an older cousin (2 yrs older) who goes to school everyday. So during that trip, every morning I told my son that his cousin is going to school and not crying. When she came back from school, she will come to our place and then I asked her how her school was (in front of my son) and stressed to him that she is happy and not crying.
We came back to the state, and the day before and in the morning before the preschool, I reminded my son that Sara went to school and she is not crying. Abracadabra, he did not cry that day and day after that, and since then! Sometimes, he is about to cry (according to the teacher), then she will remind him that Sara is also going to school and mommy will pick him up after lunch (I still only send him for 3 hrs).
I do not know if because of his cousin goes to school and he wants to be like her (he's looking up to her), or it was just the break from school for a week that enabled him to see the whole situation in perspective.
On the other note regarding Montessori system. Firstable, when I visited their schools, I have never felt comfortable with their philosophy. They really stressed independency and I'm not sure that my son is ready for that. He's attachment to me and his verbal skill (behind maybe because he's bilingual) make me wonder on the push to independence. So you might want to see from that perspective. I know that they are very supportive, but that does not mean that they do not follow their way of teaching. I have a friend whose son is in a Montessori system since he was 18 months. He's very independent and easy going (as much so that I envy my friend). However, 1.5 yrs later, he's still not bonding with the teachers or his classmates. Mostly, he's playing by himself and observing other people. Here lies the issue, he's potty-trained, he even can pull his pants down and sit in the potty; BUT he can not wipe his own rear-end after that. My friend was so tick off last week that he came home with dirty behind. The teacher kind of said that he was never asked for help (maybe he's not comfortable enough since he's not bonding with her) but he was handed a wipe! The funny thing is that the class is not required to be potty trained (it's 2-3 yr old class and some classmates are still in diaper). So my friend's son kind of falls in the crack, too old for diaper (meaning time to time attention from the teacher) but not old enough to wipe his own (common, he's not even 3). Nonetheless, my friend will keep him there because in general he looks happy during drop-off and pick-up; and that school is one of the hottest in the area (Walnut Creek). All this story is according to my friend, so it might not be the complete scenario what had happened. I did tell my friend, since he's son is so easy going and maybe introvert, if he has problem at school maybe he's good enough to hide it even to his mom. Anyway, this is just a story you might want to know. been there and still worry for the regression
Re the Montessori part of your question, I have experience with both Montessori and non-Montessori, and for my kids, the Montessori environment was less emotionally challenging. Of course, every classroom is different, but you sound like you have felt support and nuturing from your son's teacher, so I assume she is pretty attuned. In my experience the Montessori classroom is philosophically similar to the attachment style, attending to a child's cues etc.
My general advice is to trust your instincts--I'm sure other posters will say this, too. But reading your post it is not at all clear that your instincts are clear. Are you feeling guilty/ mixed emotions about the decision to start school? Does the pregnancy complicate this? Thinking about these things might help you gain some clarity. If, thinking it through, your instincts are telling you that this is not a fit for your son, by all means make a change. But you may also find that your feelings are rooted in generic concern for a little guy in transition. Adding a second transition will just prolong the process. I wish you well.
One last thought. Have you gotten to know any of the parents of your son's class? They might be a great support , both in sharing their own experiences and in providing emotional support for you and your son.. been there
Maybe it's par for the course, but after a month, our 3 year old son is still reluctant to go to preschool. He's typically an extremely outgoing guy with zero separation anxiety, and yet when we get to the preschool door he hides his face against my legs and is reluctant to go in. Sometimes the clamor of the children catches his attention, and he goes in and plays for a little while, but never for long. Unfortunately, parent-participation doesn't fit in at this school (it's in the teacher's tiny home), so I sit on the porch and my son uses me as a touchstone. I feel like I'm distracting him from immersing himself in play, but he melts down if I leave. The teacher has developed a truly lovely program, but it is a formula. She tends to carry on with her usual program, then pronounce my little guy ''unready'' when he doesn't fall into place with the other children, who incidentally were all there last year and know what to expect. What can I do and what can I ask the teacher to do to help him?
The first day he went I stayed for a while because he couldn't leave my side. I finally left and got a phone call 10 minutes later that he was gagging, crying so hard. I returned. The next few months always started out the same. He cried hysterically when we dropped him off and seemed a little down when we picked him up. I researched a little into it and everything I read agreed, fairly quick drop off, big hug and reassurance, and then go. No lingering, no final waves goodbye. Eventually, about a month or two into it, he started to seem a little more cheery when I picked him up, although the drop offs were still always the same. I started to worry he was in the wrong place, and then I thought about it and wondered if I tried to take him any other place FILLED with strangers how he'd react. Probably the same. I began to try and understand his fears and to reassure him and have dialogue with him about how he felt about school and why. To which I got a lot of, ''cause I don't like it.'' Well, its been four months now and the last couple weeks have been fairly easy drop offs, no tears at all :-) He has started to consider the other kids at school his friends and he feels more comfortable with the teachers. It takes a while for them to bond sometimes because the teachers are sharing their affections and attentions with other children. But it does happen. He now seems to be very cheerful when I pick him up, talks about what he learned, talks about the kids and teachers, and seems excited. He does not however, jump out of the car, cheering every morning to go to school. Who wouldn't rather stay home and play on a school day? I guess this is just preparing us for the ''do I have to go to school?'' of later years. In fact, he woke up the other morning and coughed (fake? I'm not sure) and said to me, ''Mom, I have a cough, I can't go to school today'' (is he ferris bueller?!). We also make plans in the morning on how we are going to say good-bye. Make a plan for walking in, giving mommy and big hug and kiss, and say goodbye, then mommy will be back to pick you up and after school we will go to...
One last thing that I believe may have been helpful was that we attended two birthday parties for children in the school. I think these outside-of-school events helped him to see the other children as friends and not just school mates. Try and be patient. Most importantly though, trust your instincts. If you don't feel good about your child going there, then neither will your child. If you think it is the place, and not your child's completely understandable hesitance to spend so much time with strangers, then make a change. Best of luck to you. Karen
Sorry in advance for the length of this, but I very much need help. My 3 year 3 month old son and I are having an absolutely nightmarish time starting preschool. Each day has been progressively worse. Two nights ago, an hour after he went to bed, I found him there sobbing ''I don't want to go to preschool.'' The next day, after staying with him for an hour, I had to leave him screaming with one of the teachers. Last night he was awake for three solid hours (whenever heís stressed, he doesnít sleep well). This morning he cried from the time we put his shoes on until I left him in preschool. He is starting to react badly to any mention of the words school or teach in any context. The word preschool evokes instant tears.
The rest of his behavior is beginning to change, too. He gets very stubborn and negative about routines like getting dressed, throws huge fits about any sort of transition (very uncharacteristic), and has started to tell his daddy that he hates him. He's been in a lovely daycare -- the best place I could imagine -- since he was 15 months old, so he's used to Mommy going to work. But that daycare only takes kids until they are three, so he needs to go to preschool. All of his friends from the daycare are going to different preschools, so I couldnít keep him with more than one of them, and for a variety of reasons didnít choose the preschools chosen by the parents of his closest friends.
He's normally a very easy-going child -- never cries for babysitters (even people he's never met), goes around actively exploring a new environment, doesn't even cry when he's given shots. I have honestly never seen a reaction remotely like this to ANYTHING that has happened to him, EVER. Even after having surgery, he cried for the 20 minutes it took the anesthetic to wear off, talked the experience out for the next few days, and was fine with it.
He's pretty bright, also very verbal and able to say how he feels. And for the last three days he has talked constantly about how he doesn't like preschool and doesn't want to go any more. When I ask him why, he says it's because he doesn't know the teachers or the kids, and ''because it is hard to wait. ''
All of this is so out of character for him that I doubt I can even convey it. I am as sure as I can be that nothing bad is happening at the preschool and the teachers are deeply concerned and trying very hard to work with him, but of course they donít know what he is usually like, so I donít think they understand why I am so upset about it. He did get stung by a yellowjacket the first day he was there, but the mention of the word yellowjacket does not upset him the way the word preschool does; and he has been stung before.
I am at a total loss as to what to do. I canít just quit my job; I would be miserable without it. I canít take him back to his former daycare. I suppose I could see if one of the three preschools where his three closest friends are going has an opening, but I donít know if that would be any better. I am terrified that this is going to be permanently damaging for him; I also donít know what to say to him after the hundredth time he wails ''I donít want to go to preschool! '' Iíve told him I understand that he doesnít like preschool, that it makes him sad, that heís scared. Iíve told him that Iím sometimes scared in places where I donít know anyone; Iíve empathized to the best of my ability. Iíve tried to point out all the positive features of the preschool: I chose it because there are so many things there that are his most favorite things in all the world - an enormous outside area (he loves to be outside and we donít have a usable yard), a huge sand pit with lots and lots of trucks, even a little bird that he can talk to (he loves birds). Iíve tried to offer advice; Iíve tried to brainstorm with him about what he could do to feel better. After awhile I just want to sit down and cry with him.
Maybe this will all be over with in a month, but I donít know if I can last that long. Any advice, any ideas, any perspective on this would be most appreciated.
I am mainly writing to express my sympathy. What you describe of your son's sadness about preschool sounds very heartwrenching. I had a small taste of this when my son's preschool closed for the summer and we switched to a small home daycare for a couple of months. While he had been fine at his preschool, he was very sad about the new place. He would start crying and protesting as soon as we got up in the morning. What really broke my heart was when he tried to be brave, but his little lip quivered as we walked up the stairs to the new place. Like you, I was as sure as I could be that nothing bad was happening at the day care. But I started feeling guilty and in doubt, which I am sure he picked up on.
A few things seemed to help. First, I worked harder to help the teacher learn about my son--his likes and dislikes, favorite activities, need for alone time, etc. Secondly, like you, I brainstormed with my son what would help feel better at school. He started bringing some of his own favorite toys--whole baskets of them--with him. Thirdly, I changed both our schedules so that he could go to the daycare five half days instead of three full days a week. He REALLY did not like napping at the day care. After these efforts and about three weeks time, he did settle in. From what you write, it sounds like you have already been really loving, creative and thoughtful about how to help your son. Here are a few thoughts that your story prompted in my mind:
1. Your son was at his earlier day care for two years! That's a long time, even for a grownup. Did he get to say goodbye thoroughly enough? Does he understand that whoever took care of him is still there and still cares about him? Would he want to make a goodbye card? Or send some advice to the new kids starting there? Is he worried about getting attached to a new place only to lose it again? Can he get some kind of souvenir of the old place, so that he could carry a part of it with him at the new school?
2. He says it is ''hard to wait.'' What does that really mean, I wonder? Are the hours different at this school than at the daycare? Are there a lot more kids? Or fewer? Why wasn't it ''hard to wait'' at the old place? Is there anything that would make it easier ''to wait'' at the new place?
3. You are probably right--this too will pass in two, three, maybe four weeks. In the meantime, my heart goes out to you. You sound like a wonderful parent. Best of luck. kira
It sounds like you & the preschool teachers care deeply about your son & are doing all the right things to help him adjust. Alas, sometimes things just don't click for whatever reason. On the one hand, your son's difficult transition could be totally normal & he may eventually wind up doing well & loving the place. After all, big changes -- like new schools, new jobs, moving, etc. -- can be tough for ANYone regardless of age or temperament. Also, three-year olds tend to be extremely particular about their environment, routines, etc. & even the most easy-going children go through rough times now & then.
On the other hand, some children (just like some adults), are highly sensitive & do better in certain environments. You may want to consider how your son's current preschool differs from his former daycare, in terms of the physical size & attributes of the facility (what feels dark or claustrophobic to an adult may feel safe & cozy to a child; conversely, a spacious & brightly-lit facility can make some kids feel utterly lost); the number of children enrolled & how groups are divided (some kids need a higher degree of intimacy than others); educational philosophy (some kids need more freedom, while others need more structure), etc.
Your son's temperament sounds very similar to my daughter's. She is friendly & easy-going, loves to explore & generally relishes new people, places & situations. But on the rare occasions when she dislikes something, she is absolutely ADAMANT about it. For example, she loves travelling with me by car, bicycle, train, airplane or boat. But it'll be a LONG time before I ever try to get her on a bus again!
Can you take your son around to different preschools that have openings so you can see if he responds positively to any of them? Alas, I know how hard it is to get time off from work to do stuff like that. I guess it all really boils down to what you feel deep in your gut. You love your son & know him better than anyone else & should trust your intuition. If you feel your boy is going through a stage & would have a hard time adjusting to ANY preschool with unfamiliar teachers & kids, then you'll probably need to help the poor little guy tough it out. If you feel that the preschool is totally wrong for him, then your son needs to change preschools (& perhaps enroll in one that offers a similar environment to his former daycare) as soon as possible for both of your sakes. Good luck! I know you'll do the right thing. -- another mom
One teacher suggested moving her from the three year olds class to a group of ''almost threes.'' My sister was hesitant, but since she needed her in preschool, she agreed to try. Within a few days of the switch, her daughter loved school and came home happy every day. Fast forward a couple of years, and after a lot of thought, my sister decided to keep her in preschool an extra year, so she started kindergarten at almost 6. She is now a very well adjusted, happy 2nd grader who still loves school. My sister would not have guessed that her daughter's issue was immaturity, given her social nature and intelligence. However, moving her from being ''average'' age in the class to among the oldest seemed to give her a real boost. I don't know if this is at all similar to what's happening with your son, but if there is a younger age class available, it might be worth looking into. Stephanie
I wrote the post at the beginning of week 2, in a panic. By the end of that week, there was noticeable improvement - my son was crying a bit when I dropped him off, but no longer screaming; and during the day was playing and seemed content. As of this week (week 4) things are much better. He still is sad when I drop him off, and he still says he doesn't want to go, but can also talk about it calmly. Several mornings at dropoff he has not cried. He has bonded with one of the teachers - calls her his buddy. Also, he has a friend who plays in the sand with him. He is slee! ping through the night, and his behavior at home is better. When I pick him up at the he seems happy, and sometimes doesn't want to go home right away. The preschool has been very helpful. The teachers cuddle the sad kids, they are encouraged to write notes to their parents, and helped to find friends and activities to help them through the transition. There has also been lots of help for the parents of upset children. In retrospect, I think I had some very unrealistic expectations of my son.
I thought that he was used to being away from me, so he would have no trouble. For whatever foolish reason, it didn't occur to me how much he would miss his buddies and his old care provider. Nor did it occur to me that this preschool is pretty huge (size and activity wise) compared to his earlier situation. He's also nearing three-and-a-half, and shows many of the associated difficulties described in the book "Your Three Year Old" (I don't buy everything this author says, but she seems spot-on with this one). So some of this is probably bad timing. My old care provider actually gave me some of the best advice. She told me that it is usually kids like mine (the no-trouble-at-all kids) who melt down completely during a transition like this, much to everyone's surprise. She knows us, knows about the preschool, and told me that I had to be absolutely certain I was doing the right thing and convey this to my son.
Here are the things that have been most helpful:
I let my son talk about preschool. I tell him that I understand it is big, new, and scary (his words), but that every day it will get a little better, and someday he will like it. He seems to accept this much better than talk about all the fun things at preschool.
I leave as quickly as possible at dropoff. I don't like doing this, but the longer I stay, the worse it gets when I have to leave. If I kiss him and bolt out the door, he goes right in to play and doesn't cry. He has seen his old buddies several times. Although the experiences tend to be difficult, he makes big strides the next day (e.g. the day after a "goodbye" picnic with everyone there was the first day he didn't cry at dropoff).
We've had a few playdates with the younger kids. Some of them haven't seemed hugely successful, but my son does seem to be feeling more comfortable knowing some kids.
Hope this is helpful Karen
My daughter is 2.9 months and is beginning preschool for five days per week, half days (8-12:30) in Sept. During the month of August we enrolled her in the school's summer program to help her adjust to the school. The first week was great, she loved her teacher, and still talks a lot about her very positively. But the second and third weeks have been progressivly harder -- teary, clingy drop offs and now claims at home in the morning of ''I don't want to go to my new school today.'' The teachers have been very warm and embracing and have called me regularly to give me updates that she is doing great during the day, having fun, and playing lots. But I wonder, how long do you as a parent let you child go through the tough drop offs, and what signs should I be looking for that indicate it may be more than just a hard adjustment? Any advice on how to help my daughter adjust or how long to wait it out would be helpful. anon
My son will start preschool next fall, and I am wondering how other parents have prepared their kids for this kind of big change in their lives. Of most concern for me now is how he can most smoothly change his daily routine, and his companions. He is excited about starting school, and likes the place he will go. But he has spent three or four mornings a week with the same care giver and same other children since he was a year old. He loves the care giver very much, and recently has shown even greater attachment to her, often crying when she goes home. She will continue to look after him one day a week after school starts, but still, the change will be dramatic for him. What can I do to help make the transition easier for him? Carolyn
I guess what I am saying if that the pre-school is a benign, loving place, and Mom is at ease with the choice, your child will do great. And, as an aside, a few teary separations does not mean that you have made a wrong choice for your chi Fretting Less and less
Hi, My Son is 2 yrs and 8 months old.After a lot of research and school visits we found a preschool in fremont which we thought would be suitable for him.(This is the first time he is away from mom..He has never been to a daycare or had any playdates)
When we visited we met his teacher and liked her very much...She was very kind and my kid was showing great progress in the 2nd week itself.But when i went to drop him at school the 3rd week the director told me that his teacher had quit the job and there was another teacher for his class.
The new teacher wasn't even smiling at me or my child.She was kind of different when i dropped him or picked him from school.She never cared to look at me and talk a few words about what my son did that day at school.The director is a very nice person and so i talk to her when i pick him up to know abt how he did at school.
What is even more hard for me is my child who was okay for the first 2 weeks has started crying this week at school very much.The director says that he doesn't even show interest in any project activity or communicating with friends this week.He just keeps crying and whining.
I could also see some changes in his behaviour this week.He used to be very very polite and kind.Now he doesn't even answer to anything i ask.i am so worried about this.
Also to add to all of these worries the teacher's helper came to me when i entered the classroom and started complaining that my son had been crying on and off.And she said if the other teacher had quit the job what can others do for that...and the way she talked to me i felt like crying.
I haven't talked abt this to the director.Even if i decide to withdraw my son from the school i have to give them a month's notice (or just pay for the next month and leave).So he has to be there for another a month.So i think it might be bad for my son to tell anything abt the teacher's helper and also the new teacher's way of treating me.(and ofcourse i don't think she does anything to distract my son when he cries..she just doesn't seem to care)
He is just a little kid(not even 3yrs) and i don't have an option to stay at home and take care of the kid the whole day...So does anyone of the parents out there had a situation like this..Is this normal for a kid to take this long to adjust to a preschool?Can someone please advice me what to do at this time?I feel very stressed out because of this problem.Can someone please tell me the right thing that i should do ? Sumo
That said, though, it sounds as if the preschool is not right for either you or your son and I would look at other options. Rather than complaining about your son's crying, the teacher and the aide should be looking into reasons as to why he is doing it and working with you to help figure out a solution. Or at least provide you with some insight. I don't think my expectations are out of line that a preschool teacher should have a kind and caring way about her.
At my children's preschool, the teachers ALWAYS comfort the children when they are crying, particularly the newer kids who are going through an adjustment period. Granted they can't continually hold them while watching the other children as well, but without fail they give them some sort of individual attention. Between our two kids, we've been at preschool for a bit more than 4.5 years and have seen a lot of children make the adjustment (and have seen a lot of parents leave with tears the first few weeks and smiles after that).
Even though you have a good rapport with the director, you should have a similar rapport with your son's teacher. She is the one that is with him during the majority of the day and she is in the best position to help you find ways for your son to make the adjustment. Something just sounds off here, and I would really consider looking into other preschool options.
Veteran preschool mom
If a child cries at preschool, the teacher or someone on staff should pick him up, sit with him, etc. to soothe him, rather than just ignore it and complain to the parents! If the staff at this place are not giving attention to a crying child, you should get him out of there ASAP! The new teacher sounds horrible, and I dont care how nice the director is. If your son felt loved and cared for at school, he wouldn't be crying. Pay the money and find another place. Make sure you get recommendations for the one you choose, and be sure to ask them how they handle kids who have adjustment issues. Be sure to tell them about your past experience. anon
Do not be afraid. Listen to your heart. It is your child's safety and happiness, and your happiness that you have to worry about. He is not doing well there. Concerned
My daughter is 2.9 months and is beginning preschool for five days per week, half days (8-12:30) in Sept. During the month of August we enrolled her in the school's summer program to help her adjust to the school. The first week was great, she loved her teacher, and still talks a lot about her very positively. But the second and third weeks have been progressivly harder -- teary, clingy drop offs and now claims at home in the morning of ''I don't want to go to my new school today.'' The teachers have been very warm and embracing and have called me regularly to give me updates that she is doing great during the day, having fun, and playing lots. But I wonder, how long do you as a parent let you child go through the tough drop offs, and what signs should I be looking for that indicate it may be more than just a hard adjustment? Any advice on how to help my daughter adjust or how long to wait it out would be helpful.
We placed our 3.6 yr. old, Sean in a well known Kensingtopn preschool in January. Up till then, Sean had been at home with either myself (mom) or his grandmother. His brother was born last August.
Since Sean started pre-school, his personality has done a 360. He used to be a loving, playful little guy, who listened and behaved (As well as a three year old can). Within a month of starting school, he has become very aggressive, constantly trying to bite or hit anyone around, including his 9 month old brother. He has been labeled as an aggressor at school, which we find very disturbing. I've tried to speak with the director, however she has not been much help. She questioned what we were doing at home with him, and wanted to be sure we were addressing the problem.
We've been reading a lot about 3 & 1/2 yr. olds and have learned that this behavior can be common, especially with a new sibling in the house. However, we have seen such a huge change, and so negative, that we are questioning the pre-school situation above all. We are considering pulling our son out of the school and transfering him to another one, although I want to be careful not to do further damage by placing him in yet another new situation.
I would appreciate any opinions/feedback on similar situations/advice on this. We are really confused about what to do. Thanks.
We noticed the behavioral changes almost right away, though for our son they were in the opposite direction from yours: withdrawal, extreme shyness, near silence while at school, and uncharacteristically strong separation anxiety. We figured some of this was normal while he adjusted to the changes, so we waited it out for awhile and kept in touch with his teachers about his daily activiites. Things just kept getting worse.
Over a couple of months, we think we identified all of the things in the environment that were upsetting our child. The change from ''daycare'' to ''preschool'' meant that the kids were expected to make adaptations to the group, and there were far fewer adaptations of the group to the needs of any individual child. Naptimes, for example, were utterly inflexible. This regimented routine was very hard on our son, as I'd expect it to be for yours, since he has not previously been in group care.
The size of the group (about 16 two to three year olds) was also a problem. It seemed hard for the children and teachers to bond. Our son never became particularly attached to any of his new caregivers -- in fact, sometimes he didn't even seem comfortable. The large class was, in itself, probably overwhelming for him. When we'd drop in to check on him, we often found this otherwise friendly, social boy playing alone! If your child is having difficulty making any emotional connections -- either with teachers or other children -- it seems to me the aggressive behavior you've noticed would be a perfectly predictable reaction for a three year old.
On the other hand, you might investigate whether your son is picking up this new behavior from any of the other kids. If your son is being bullied, his aggression may be self-defense, or just an outlet for his anger and fear. In our experience, the teachers tried to control one very aggressive child, but didn't seem to recognize how deeply affected our son was. They could not, or would not, keep our son and this other child separated during the day. In the end, this was the worst problem for us, and ultimately tipped the scales on our decision to remove our child from school.
We realized that, at 2 1/2 it wasn't yet necessary for our son to ''learn how to adapt'' to the demands of the world. I'm very comfortable making the world adapt to him in a few small, meaningful ways, like taking his cues about when to be active, and when to play quietly. Kindergarten is still a long way off! We were more concerned about establishing negative early memories of ''school.'' I opted to join a playgroup (where I can monitor the quality of his social interactions firsthand), enroll him in a couple of tot classes, and make a concerted effort to go out each day to places where he can encounter other kids.
If your situation doesn't require that your son be in full-time care, I'd suggest making some changes. After five months, I think you would be seeing improvement if your child is simply ''getting adjusted.'' There's probably more going on. Try reducing the number of hours he attends, and drop in frequently to watch your child. You'll probably be able to figure out exactly what's going on with him, and if your school won't make accomodations for his needs, then look around at other schools! And if you have to, give him some time off, and try preschool again in a few months.
Our son was back to his old self within a couple of weeks. No more separation anxiety, friendly and social, and we even noticed more rapid improvements in his language. In our case, it was obvious (what a relief!) that we had made the right choice. We plan to try preschool (in a different setting) again in the fall. We hope the extra time at home has enabled him to grow at his own pace, and that he'll be ready to deal with the challenges of school. Anon
I should be happy my daughter has so much fun at preschool she doesn't want to leave when I pick her up. However it often becomes such an unpleasant scene to get her out the gate that I almost wish she didn't like being there so much. Here's what usually happens: She spots me, she tells me she is not ready to go, I tell her she has ''5'' minutes and then it'll be time to go. ''5'' minutes pass (usually more), I tell her it is time to go, she says she's not ready and runs off. I catch up to her, say it's time to go, she runs off. This continues a few times till I have to forcefully get her out the gate against her will sometimes kicking and screaming. This is not easy, mind you, as I always have my 2 y.o. son with me who doesn't like to leave either. Against my better judgement, I have resorted to ''Mommy's leaving'' and walking out the gate without her which usually brings her running, crying, but I don't like that technique at all. Bribing with a treat in the car has worked as well but I am looking for other ideas. Anybody? Kathryn
Three more related ideas: 1) have a talk with her at another time, when you are both relaxed and connected, and see if you can fully understand what goes on for her instead of trying to get her to change her behavior. This might give you a clue as to what both of you might do differently. 2) Consider what she is going home TO - is there something for her to look forward to? I don't mean a bribe in the car, but the opportunity for play and connection with family members? If not, consider making such a time when you come in - even a concentrated 15 minutes of focusing on play with the children could make her more excited about home. 3) I wonder how she'd feel about you joining into her play for the 5-10 minutes you're at the preschool, as a way to transition her attention from what she's doing there to being with you in a warm, loving way.
I hope this helps.
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