8 year old cries before school

Elizabeth - posted on 10/27/2014 ( 5 moms have responded )

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Our 8 year old son has never had separation anxiety before. He likes his teacher and has friends. he is doing great academically. he is happy when he is at school. But he cries all morning before going to school. It is driving me crazy !!

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Sarah - posted on 10/27/2014

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Is he getting enough sleep? Does he say anything about not wanting to go or is he just crying? My youngest would cry everyday on the way to school. She liked school and did well so I was stumped. Her teacher found her in tears one day and she said she was worried that I was lonely!
Does he take a bus? There are some ideas to distract him, but it will help if I have a picture of what the morning is like.

Sarah - posted on 10/27/2014

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That is tricky! It's good the teacher can tell you he has a good social skills. I don't like to tell kids ever not to cry. If he's really troubled, his feelings and tears are valid. However, if the bus ride is tear free, and the school day goes without a hitch, it is curious that he cries about those things before leaving.
Maybe, after school, chat about his day, the good and the bad parts and have him grade the day; 'A' for a great day, 'F' for the worst ever. Or use numbers or varied smiley faces to frowny faces.
Post the "report card" where he can see it. After a short run of B's or better, point out to him how well his days are going. Then, you can introduce the idea of no crying before school would make the day even better! If he has something concrete to see that shows his own opinion of things he may stop feeling anxious in the mornings. If he goes a few days without tears, lots of praise and even a reward.

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Sarah - posted on 10/27/2014

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I hope it helps! Having concrete visual things has helped my most anxious child now 10 a lot. She would come home fine and by morning not want to go back to fourth grade because "everyone" hated her. When she could see that for five days in a row, she had fun at school and played with so and so at recess, it helped calm her down.
This is the one who cried about me being alone while she was gone. She is just an anxious kid and once she spirals down to tears it's hard to reason with her at all.
I have gotten lots of great advice here as well!

Elizabeth - posted on 10/27/2014

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i love the idea of the report card he can see. we do talk about the day -- but something tangible is really different and powerful !!!

thank you !! what an amazing website !!

Elizabeth - posted on 10/27/2014

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Hi Sarah !! Thank you so for writing back !!

He is an excellent sleeper (although he has trained me to get up early -- 5:30 !!). he is in bed at 8 pm and sound asleep.

he rides the bus and has good friends on the bus.

This year he has become afraid of the dark and the storage closet next to his room -- he never was before.

We moved last year and this is his 2nd year at school. His best friend is in his class but has made some new friends and that bothers him.

He worries about the social aspect of school, but kids really like him.

His teacher emailed me that he is all smiles after this awful morning of tears and it is me who is working and worrying !!

THANK YOU !!!!

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