son not adjusting well to preschool

Al - posted on 01/15/2013 ( 15 moms have responded )

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Hi everyone i need some advice. My son started preschool in September and still cries and says he doesnt want to go. i have been a stay at home mom since he was born ( he is 3.5). He goes 2 mornings a week. Im starting to feel it was a mistake and its heartbreaking. i dont know what to do.

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Sarah - posted on 01/15/2013

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Do you know how long he cries for after you drop him off? I do day care and I have some kids that will cry when dropped off, but before their moms have reached their cars they have stopped crying and are now playing with the rest of the kids. Also how are you doing drop off? I find that the more a drop off drags out the harder it is for all involved. A quick bye love you and see you after snack (or whatever) works the best. Sometimes a sticker on their shirt or hand that you kissed that they can rub when they need to helps. I would also suggest inviting some of his preschool friends over for a play date or even during the week try to do a get together with some of them. It is much easier to say good-bye to mom when you see a friend in the classsroom playing....you want to go join that friend.

I would also talk with the teachers and/or director. Find out how he is the rest of class time. Is he involved with what they are doing or is he standing by himself? Are they needing to encourage him to get involved throughout the day? Does he have a friend that he enjoys playing with......good hint for who to call for those playdates. Also find out what they would suggest doing. At some point kids are going to have to have that seperation from being with mom all day. Some have a very easy time and are off and running as soon as you enter the main door. Others have a harder time and need encouragement that it will be ok even when mom is not there.

Melissa - posted on 01/21/2013

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Not all 3.5 year olds are ready for preschool. It also may not be the best preschool for his needs. Maybe locate some other social opportunities for him and take him out of preschool until he is older.

Amanda - posted on 01/18/2013

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When my son went to preschool he just looked and said bye mom. But there was one boy who was like that. The teacher had to close the door behind his mom or he would run out. He didn't play with the other kids sat by himself. So I asked my son to go over a play with him cause that boy misses his mommy. Took a few times for him to play with my son but the next year when school started he walked in with his head held high and didn't cry at all. She stuck with it. For one year he cried and complained but the next he didn't care. It isn't hurting him by going. He is learning that mom goes mom comes back. It may take six months but in the end he will learn independence and you will be so proud of him. Make sure when you pick him up you tell him you are so proud that he spent the whole day there. Let him take you around and show you what he played with. That helped another little girl who didn't want daddy to leave. Also ask the teacher when you get there if the three of you can do a run through of the day. What they will be playing with which book they are reading. Maybe he is scared of the not knowing part. If they are making a craft tell him you can't wait to see what it is going to look like, or if they are reading a book tell him on the way home he has to tell you all about it cause it sounds good. Little things like that make them excited to go and tell you all about their day. My son was three when he started and went for two years so I saw lots of kids go through it. His teacher had so many ideas on how to help them it was great. If you need more I still see her all the time and can ask her for you. Hang in there in the end you are only helping him.

Sally - posted on 01/18/2013

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Why does he need to go at all? At that age, he's more likely to develop and learn healthfully with you than with strangers.

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Josee - posted on 01/23/2013

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I am a preschool teacher
set up a consistent "goodbye" routine and leave. I find that most children stop crying within a minute or two of mom and dad leaving. And then they have a great time.
Its normal for a child to feel some anxiety when mom leaves, they do grow out of it; they adjust to the new environment and do, eventually, get more comfortable with separating from mom

some children take longer then others to adapt, but dont give up - preschool can be such a rewarding experience.
also, some children are observers - they just want to watch. a good teacher will accept this and allow them to simply observe. when he is good and ready - he will join in. its ok. all children have different personalities.
a child who observes is also learning

Tannis - posted on 01/23/2013

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Preschool isn't mandatory where we live but very important. The skills they need for kindergarten are unbelievable!! Things they did in their first year in preschool I remember learning in kindergarten. They are 4 now and can write their first and last names, know most of their numbers, can count to 30 and do so much more. Kids can be very manipulative and will try everything to get you to stay home. If he is doing well after you leave, he will be fine. Talk to him about his day when you pick him up and celebrate his successes. I agree with others on here about play dates. Get him into some small group activities where he may feel less overwhelmed by fewer kids. My girls are in a music class with two other kids. They have formed a closer bond with these children and have grown much more comfortable performing in social settings (music recitals, school programs). Get to know the parents as well. Not sure of your setting but I live in a small town and will be with these same families until high school graduation. Your son will do well if you are all involved. Good luck!

Al - posted on 01/22/2013

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i have watched outside the room and he did stop crying right away. he only goes 2 mornings a week so i feel like its taking longer to adjust. was thinking about adding a third morning to get him used to it more. what do you think about that? is that stupid? i just want to do what is best for him. i am a sahm so all he knows is me

Christine - posted on 01/22/2013

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Just give him time. You are doing the right thing by getting him out for socialization, which is really important at this age. Can you observe his class without him seeing you so you can assure yourself it is a good school?

Kat - posted on 01/21/2013

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Maybe stay there and help out to see what goes on. Introduce him to kids as he walks in. I'm sorry you have to go through this. My son was happy to go to preschool. I was the same as your child when I was little. I think he might not feel comfortable there yet and your his comfort so of course he doesn't want you to leave. You should try to get him comfortable with the other children so that he is excited to go and not afraid. He is still little and he sounds clingy so I think it's okay to intervene a little. School should be a good experience from the start or bad habits like missing school can show up later.

Al - posted on 01/21/2013

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I have a feeling this is separation anxiety as well. I just hope im doing the right thing by keeping him in preschool. I am going to add a day (only 3 hours) and see if maybe he adjusts to it better. His teacher said after I leave he is fine but like you said Its so heartbreaking knowing that he doesnt have to go but I feel like if i pull him out then im giving in and he will still have the same problem later on anyway. I feel so guilty :(

Amanda - posted on 01/21/2013

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My 8 yr old still has problems at times about having 2 go 2 school & leaving mommy. (I'm a stay at home mom as well.) She has a lot of friends & does really well in school but the whole leaving mommy thing is still really tough 4 her. Some mornings when I drop her off she cries or has tears in her eyes. It breaks my heart but I know she has 2 go. I got told by the guidance consular that its seperat ion anxiety. That 1 thing I NEEDED 2 do was 2 have a routine & stick 2 it. Like we leave the house at a certain time everyday & when I drop her off I always kiss my hand & touch my hand 2 her cheek & tell her to have fun & that I love her. Most days she comes home telling me how much fun she had & what all she learned. At 1st she didn't always have fun but after she got use 2 things which took a few months & she started making friends that when she started having fun. But she still has those bad days where she wants to stay home with mommy or cries/has tears in her eyes when I drop her off at school.

Kate - posted on 01/17/2013

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It is different with each child. I tried day care with my oldest son when he was a little over three and a half. I tried for only 2 months and he fought getting dressed everyday and was very unhappy. I was at home with the baby and decided that if the oldest was not ready for daycare to just let him be at home with us. He did go over to play with a neighbor boy sometimes and was fine with that. In fact, there were two different neighborhood friends he enjoyed getting together with. He is still a person who likes quiet and alone time. His younger brother seemed to thrive at a friend's daycare when he was two or three. Our youngest likes to be around a lot of people... is an extrovert and our oldest is an introvert and was very happy when we stopped the daycare at three and a half. The teacher said he would be ok if I left him in the program, but I felt like after two months, if he was not.. it would be better to wait a while. That was my experience. They are so individual and let you know what they need. The youngest one let us know he wanted to be with others, the same as the oldest let us know he wanted to be home then.
Kate

AnnMarie - posted on 01/17/2013

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My (3.5yrs) goes to the preschool my mother teaches at and he still cries for me to stay and not leave him. Every drop off 3 days a week. His grandma is across the hall and his best friendis in his room. The only reason he cries is to see if I give in and not leave him there, which won't happen. He is fine, stops crying, and participates in class. It's a test. Stick to it mama! My now 9 year old did the same thing. For 2 years. he would not want me to leave, cry, be clingy, freak out if I did drop off out of the car (the teachers take then to their class)& I didn't take him to his room. I never gave in with him either (I did feel more guilt leaving him crying than I do with this one but I think that was because he was the first and I had never had to deal with it before). If you feel your son is safe and he isn't crying the whole time I say stick with it! Maybe he's playing by himself by choice. And there is nothing wrong with that! (my first is also a quiet, play by myself, independent type)

Sarah - posted on 01/15/2013

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I would try the playdate idea. It is a learning process. Kids often times will play on their own or side by side when they are not use to playing with kids. It takes time for them to realize that it can be fun to play together. I would try having a few of his preschool friends over to play. Then help guide him in play with them. I found that preschool at age 3 yrs is them learning how to socialize with others. They are learning how to play together, how to share, and how to take turns. Preschool at 4 yrs old is more of the learning the letters and numbers and what they will need for kindergarden. I would ask the teachers if there is anything you should be/ or could be working with him on. Let them know your concerns. They will give you imput on where to go from here.

Al - posted on 01/15/2013

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I talked to his teacher and she said he is fine when I leave but does not really participate in activities with the kids. He does do things but by himself. She thinks it could be because he is only there 2 mornings a week and is just having a hard time getting used to it. I dont really want to put him in an extra day but Im worried he is not ready. I feel so guilty :-(

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