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How do I help my preschooler adjust to going to school?

I have a four year old son and this is his fourth week of preschool. When I drop him off in the morning he screams and the teacher has to hold him so that I can leave.He calms down for a little while, but for the most part he crys most of the day. He will not eat much of anything at school. He also has started wetting his pants purposely because he wants me to come and pick him up. I have a three year old daughter who goes to school with him and she does great. She does not cry when I drop her off, she runs to the door, happy to be there. I am not sure what to do to, my son even crys at home about going to scool.

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5 Responses to “How do I help my preschooler adjust to going to school?”

  1. laugh_out_loud said:

    just drop him off, say mommy will be back, and walk away. DO NOT LOOK BACK AT HIM!!! i know it’s tough, but he has to learn to trust that you mean what you say, and also that you will not give in.

  2. carrisasez said:

    He may be having problems with the teacher or other children. Has he done this the whole time, how long has he been going to the preschool. I work with children and we do see this sometimes after the 2nd or third day, and sometimes even longer. I hope things get easier for you, and sometimes I have had parents call back to check on their children and the child stops as soon as mom or dad leave. It should work out, I hope.

  3. lala4j said:

    With my daughter I showed up a little early and got her interested with what was going on in the room and each day I left a little earlier. He may be having some abandonment and trust problems at home. Has someone recently died, moved out, started working again or something like that? With my daughter is was because the Army had just sent her dad overseas.

  4. et Dawn said:

    I have been that teacher that deals with your issue from a teacher’s point of view. Here’s my suggestion:
    1. Read lots of books about going to school with him. Emphasize the part about when Mommy comes to pick them up afterwards.
    2. Tell him kindly, but firmly, what to expect. Today, as you get him ready for school, talk about the order of events. First we wake up, eat breakfast…yada, yada… then at such a such time, Mommy comes to pick you up.
    3. When you drop him off, tell him that you love him, that you will be excited to hear all about his day at school, and that you will see him at such a such time.
    4. Turn around and leave without looking back or showing any sign of a problem with his tantrum. This is the hardest part for you, but the longer you hang around and show that he can manipulate you, the longer this will continue.
    5. Show up at the exact time that you say you will. He is looking to see if you are reliable in keeping your word.
    6. Be sure to be excited to see him and to hear all about his day. Ask the teacher some questions about what they did, so you can prompt him when he forgets.
    7. Have time for him at home. He isn’t getting Mommy time in the day, so spend your evening with your kids. Blow bubbles, sing, go to the park, whatever it is that you all love to do together. This way, he doesn’t feel cheated out of Mommy time by being in daycare all day.
    Hope this helps. Good luck!

  5. marnonyahoo said:

    Take a day off and go visit the school with him. Be a fly on the wall and tell him you’re just there to watch and see what he does. If he tries to be clingy, tell him you will leave if he behaves this way. Make sure he sees you interact with his teacher to show him that you like her. This may help if he sees that mommy and teacher are “friends.”

    Send and extra set of clothes to his school. If he wets his pants, have the teacher hold him responsible. He can change his wet clothes and put the wet ones in a bag to take home. He will feel the burden of this and learn it’s easier to use the toilet at school.

    When you drop him off, make a quick exit. Tell him you’ll see him after school. Maybe even give him something of yours to hold in his pocket (key to the house). It may feel like a safety net.

    Don’t give in to the crying at home. Say “4 years olds go to school so they will be ready for kindergarten.” When he says “I don’t want to go.” say “I’m not offering you a choice” and walk away.

    Try and arrange some play dates with his peers. You can even carpool with another child from his class. Once he develops some friendships, he may feel more willing to go.

    It will take a little time. If for some reason the teacher needs you to pick him up from school because he’s crying, get him and have a very boring day (go to the bank, market, home). He may decide its more fun to go to school. Good luck!


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