DS having a hard time adjusting to preschool...

Discussion in 'Disney for Families' started by chris4disney, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. chris4disney

    chris4disney DIS Veteran

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    Need some advice here... our DS (4.5) just started preschool a couple weeks ago. He only goes two days a week (half day and all day), but he is having a really hard time with it. Basically up until now he has been "babysat" by me, DH, Grandma or a friend while DH and I are at work. We haven't ever needed official "daycare". Which has been great for us financially, but socially it has really affected DS's ability to adjust to preschool. His teachers tell me that he hardly talks and sobs off and on all day. :sad2: It makes me feel like this horrible mother because these women must wonder what is wrong with this kid. They keep telling me that some kids have a harder time than others and that it will just take time. But if they only saw DS away from school... it's like night and day! At home we can't get him to sit still or keep quiet :rotfl: He's so smart and can navigate around a computer better than a lot of adults! :lmao: I just wish there was something that I could do to make him more comfortable at school. Every time I drop him off I feel like crying in the car because I feel aweful that I've left him crying for me. :guilty: But the more he cries, the more it makes me realize that he definitely needs to be there and prepare for Kindergarden. Our plan was for him to start Kindergarden next fall, but if he doesn't get better about preschool... I don't see how they'll let him in Kindergarden. And I know that next fall is a year away and a lot can change. I just hate to see my baby having a hard time.

    Any suggestions or comfortings words for a stressed mom? TIA
     
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  3. Stephres

    Stephres Likes Disney and Scrapbooking<br><font color=deepp

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    I have been so lucky, my children were ready to leave me at 2 to go to preschool. The only advice I can give you is to be consistent. The kids I noticed who had the most trouble were the ones with moms who lingered and were wishy washy about it and started to leave but would come back for "one more kiss" and things like that. Maybe have a goodbye routine like a bedtime routine where you do certain things with him and then he knows you are going to leave. A good book is "The Kissing Hand." Try reading it to him before you leave and then kiss his hand in the car and then take him in and leave.

    I really wish you luck because I know it's hard to leave them when they're crying, but I think you are doing the right thing!
     
  4. teresajoy

    teresajoy <font color=deeppink>World's Proudest Aunt!<br><fo

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    Hi Steph! :wave:

    I have a little different opinion and remember, that's all this is, my opinion. If you don't have to leave your son at preschool, I would really consider taking him out. I don't see any reason to do this to him if he is that miserable. I personally always hated school, and couldn't stand to be away from my mother. Even after 13 years of school, it didn't get better. Well, I didn't cry for my Mom every day after the first day or two of school, but I still missed her! My MIL made my husband go to preschool and he HATED it, he use to hide under a cupboard when it was time to go. And, he still talks about how much he disliked it at 47.

    I would give it another week or two maybe, and if he isn't getting any better, seriously think about not sending him. Maybe you could find a playgroup so that he can socialize some.

    I just read an article in Baby Talk magazine that said that studies show that preschool doesn't help children socially. I don't always believe studies, but it is something to think about.

    Follow your gut, only you know what's really right for you little guy.:hug:
     
  5. MSSANDRA

    MSSANDRA DIS Veteran

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    Above poster is right.. Get a morning routine and stick with it. Mom walks him to the room (or follow the procedure), gives 5 kisses and goes. prolonging is tough on all. TRy to find out what is going to happen the next day he will be at school and focus on something he will really like. Are they going to paint or take a walk in the woods.

    What i also wonder about is the number of days he attends. Two days is pretty unisural for 4's. Do all the other kids go two, or do they go more days?? Going less days than the other children, while is nice for mom and dad and the wallet, can be hard. They miss a lot of the bonding time between kids and might have trouble finding their place. Also, do a lot of the kids stay a full extended day??? That is also really hard for some kids. napping in a new place can be VERY tramatic for some kids. Could someone pick him up at lunch for a while to let him adjust better.

    Last, as long as you did you homework and feel good about the school and teacher, hang in there. He will adjust and stopping now will just make next time harder!!!!
     
  6. Elmo888

    Elmo888 DIS Veteran

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    I tend to agree with the if he doesn't have to go why send him if he is miserable theory. I felt like I would definitely force my DDs to go to preschool the year before kindergarten, but, after reading your problems, I'm not sure. (One DD went to preschool at 3 ands was quite happy. The other is only 2 and hasn't started preschool yet.) Preschool isn't required, and kindergarten repeats much of the curriculum (at least where I live).

    Kindergarten will be different. He will be older, you can explain to him that he has to go ("it's the law", "the policeman says that kids have to go to school", etc.), and the consistency of going every day will be different than a few times a week. He will most likely adjust more quickly.

    Can you find some boys that will be attending the same school and set up some playdates instead? You could start out by having them at your house so he could get comfortable with a few kids. You could even do this now with a few boys from the preschool and see if that helps him adjust.

    Maybe stick with it for a month and reevaluate?

    Good luck!
     
  7. mom2aredhead

    mom2aredhead DIS Veteran

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    I agree with PP's that said be consistent with the drop off routine. My son was in day care 2 days/week from when he was about 1 year old, and every time he moved up to a new classroom he cried the first couple weeks - I think because he was confused about the newness of it, but then he would be fine. I would do the same thing every day - folder in the bin, lunch in the refrig, 1 kiss on each cheek, a kiss on the hand for him to hang on to during the day, and I was out the door. He would cry, but I listened in the hallway out of sight of him and the teachers, and he would stop within a few minutes. I think a lot of it was a show for me.

    Did I read correctly that he is there 2 days, but 1 is 1/2 and 1 is full? That alone is probably confusing - not knowing if he'll eat lunch and rest there or at home. Maybe a different schedule like 2 full days or 3 half days would be better.

    He may be mirroring you're feelings too. From the minute you wake up that morning, you need to be very "rah-rah hooray today is a fun school day!" If he senses that you your dreading leaving him school, he'll not want to go. BUT if you are dropping him off for a very exciting new adventure with his new friends, he may feel differently, so talk it up a little to make it sound great! Hang up any work he does on the kitchen cabinets or somewhere in plain view so he feels like he accomplished something great while he was there. Also, we live a few blocks away from my sons school and we would wave and yell "hi school" or "see you tomorrow" each time we passed it in the car - kind of makes the building less intimidating.

    Kids are resilient and he'll adjust. This is just my opinion, but I wouldn't pull him out just yet. If you made the decision to send him, and he'll be going to kindergarten next year anyway, pulling him out now because he's crying will teach him that if he crys next year he won't have to go to kindergarten. Then what??
     
  8. chris4disney

    chris4disney DIS Veteran

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    Thanks everyone! I do give a quick goodbye kiss and leave. I don't linger because the teachers have suggested the quick goodbye thing. I do try to talk about what fun things they are going to do at school the next day, but I don't try to push the topic too much because he just gets upset. Some kids do go all day, while others are only there part time. We decided on the day and a half schedule due to our own work schedules recently changing. If he's not at the school during this 1.5 days, we'll only have to find some other daycare for him. So removing him completely is not really an option. We could send him more days and just pay for it. If we'd do that, we'd probably just send him for extra actually preschool time, which is only 2 hours out of the morning.

    I'm finding it interesting that he says he doesn't like to be there, and yet ever since he has started perschool he mimicks (sp?) certain things that they do there. Just for example, a lot of times at home now when he has to go to the bathroom he runs over to me with his hand up in the air. And I guess I'm supposed to say "Yes, you can go to the bathroom." ;)

    Today in class they were learning how to write the letter B. He already knows how to write the letter B, but he was explaining to me how the teacher was teaching them to write it. (draw a line, then two "bumps") So anyways, he may not be saying much while he's there, but I can tell that he is soaking up what the teachers are teaching. He always comes home with a stack of papers that he has colored or painted. Today he was showing me some of his papers and on two of them he wrote "Mikey hearts Mommy" and "Mikey hearts Dad". Which just chokes me up because I know he was thinking about us at school. :hug:

    I know he will get better and adjust at some point, I just hope for both our sakes that it's sooner rather than later. :rolleyes1
     
  9. rgribik

    rgribik Mouseketeer

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    My first dd went without even looking back at me, but dd #2 clung to me like a starfish. We worked through it day after day, and soon she learned I would be there when she was done. If you take your child out now, all you will do is give them what they wanted(to stay home from school). I agree a quick goodby, "I love you, have a good time, I'll be there for you when you are done" is the best. They have to go to Kindergarten, and learning to obey rules, and belong to a class is going to happen sooner or later, so why not help them start with preschool?
    Something that helped us was to have some one else take her to preschool, she still was weepy, but went into the class much easier with a friend of mine who also had a child in preschool. I also started to leave her at the door of the school, not walk her into her class(arranged with the teacher). I felt horrible every time I saw her cry, but I put on the "you can do it" face, and sent her in. When Kinder time came, she knew what school was and what she was supposed to do, had some friends, knew I was waiting for her ,so it wasn't as scary.
     
  10. sunlover13

    sunlover13 <font color=darkorchid>No Chef boyardee here!

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    My DD started preschool last year in the 4's, even though she was 3. She is tall for her age and they felt she was ready to start in 4's b/c she often visited when her cousin was there. Her cousin's MOM watches her during the day. Anyway, DD cried the first day when we dropped her off. She thought we were going to stay with her and watch her. She never cried again, but the teachers said she was really shy and quiet and intimidated by the other kids. This was a shock to me b/c she is very outgoing, talkative, and makes friends with other kids at the park, etc. Well, she ended up making a best friend in her class so she started to enjoy school a lot and couldn't wait to go each day. The other girls in her class all knew each other and were in a little bit of a clique. Even the teachers noticed it. So, I was happy she found someone to talk to, befriend, etc. Where am I going with all this? Maybe setting up a playdate with some of the other kids and/or parents where the kids can get to know each other more outside of the classroom. If he has friends there, he will probably enjoy & look forward to going to school more. I know that worked for my DD. Good luck!
     
  11. mom2aredhead

    mom2aredhead DIS Veteran

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    Good idea - Now that I think about it, there was far less drama when my husband dropped him off compared to when I did - and there was no drama at all on the few occasions he went with my neighbor.
     
  12. cinjam

    cinjam When will we go again???? Why in April, of course!

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    Both of my children are/were like that (both boys 3.5 & 6.5). As PPs have said, just be consistant. My then 5YO had this problem in kindergarten last year as well, he got better then mid-year his teacher called me to say it started up again (never have been able to figure out why). In the past we've tried these various things:

    1) We read the "Kissing Hand", which helps.
    2) When needed, I give my 3.5YO a leather braided braclet that I usually wear for this very reason. He knows it's mine & that he has a "piece" of me in his cubby.
    3) As suggested by my son's kindgergarten teacher: in his pocket we put small pictures of myself & DH that he can hold onto when he misses us

    Hope you find something that works for you!
     
  13. chris4disney

    chris4disney DIS Veteran

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    Right next door to us are twin boys who also go to his preschool. They aren't in DS's class, but he does see them when everyone is outside playing. The teachers have told me that he seems more at ease when he is with them on the playground. I only wish they were in class together too. But I didn't have a choice in the matter.

    Before the first day of school, DS was so excited about going and was carrying around his back pack everywhere. He did great his first day, never cried and his teacher said he ran around playing and talking the whole time. (I wasn't sure she was talking about the right kid because I expected him to be shy.) He came home the first day and said he had so much fun, etc. Well, the morning of school day #2 was a complete different story. He didn't want to go again. In his mind, school was a one time thing. He had went the day before, had fun, but that was it. He wasn't going back, he wanted to be home. :confused3
     
  14. jodifla

    jodifla WDW lover since 1972

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    My son was a lot younger when he started (20 months), and cried pretty much everyday for a year when I dropped him off. But in his case, it was only a show for my benefit. He stopped the second I walked out the door.

    In your case, I think you just need to stick with it for a bit. I know that it's very hard to leave a crying child. Particularly if he's actually upset most of the day!

    I think many, many parents go through this. But many of us just went through it when our kids were younger.

    Good luck! It's nice he's picking up on so much of the class instruction already.
     
  15. jodifla

    jodifla WDW lover since 1972

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    One thought: Does your preschool feed into the kindergarten he will go to? My son went to a public preschool (you had to pay for it though) and almost his whole preschool went on the kindergarten. It seems to have REALLY helped his comfort level.

    And a PP mentioned age and maturity, and this is also very true. My DS went to the open house this year at 5.5, and he left me willingly to go back with the teachers, learned the song and even came back out and stood up in the front of the room and sang! This was a minor miracle, and nothing he would have done at 4.5.
     
  16. chris4disney

    chris4disney DIS Veteran

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    Yes, one reason we picked this preschool is because when he goes to Kindergarten (half day) next fall, the school bus will drop him off at this preschool (if we needed them to for the afternoon). It is located in the center of our school district, so I'm going to assume that most of the kids in this preschool will go to the same kindergarten.

    When our DS was about 18 months - 4 yrs he did go to a sitter while I was working. During that 2.5 yrs, his time there varied from 2-5 days a week, based on how many days I was working at the time. This was a woman who watched just a few kids in her home, so it was more like going to grandma's house than a daycare for him. He did cry when I left him there sometimes, but would typically stop the moment I left. So I think it was more for show to make me feel bad. But preschool is different. He's not the center of attention there. And there's a LOT more than just 2-3 other kids running around.
     
  17. nessz79

    nessz79 DIS Veteran

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    It can be overwhelming I think with all the kids running around them. My DS 4.5 and DS 3 just started going to preschool this year. My 4.5 has no problem, but the 3 is crying every day. He didn't cry at all the first week. The teacher said kids often have a delayed reaction once they realize they come back every day!

    I would talk with the teacher and see if they can help him make a friend. Just one friend seems to make so much difference because they are no longer an outsider. Maybe it's hard for him to make friends because he's only there 2 days a week? I would consider sending him a little more frequently so that it would become a solid routine.

    I'm sorry...it is hard!
     
  18. mom2aredhead

    mom2aredhead DIS Veteran

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    ...And my son had an afternoon "I want my mommy" meltdown at pre-school.

    The same school he's been going to for about 2.5 years

    Because today was the first "full" (extended hours) day for him since the end of August and he decided that he was going to cry in the room he's in for the afternoon session.

    The very same room that about 10 of the other kids from his class are in along with him. Which by the way is the very same room he spent summer "camp" in.

    With the same kids that have been in his class since he was a year old.

    Go figure.
     
  19. alikat99

    alikat99 <font color=red>NO! Don't make me go to Super WalM

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    How long has he been going to school this year?

    The reason that I ask is that sometimes it just takes some time. This year, I got a job at my girls' school in the preschool as a teachers assistant. We had a little boy in one of the classes that would just sob for almost the entire day for the first week. Then, the second week, the sobbing lasted for about 1/2 the day. The third week, his mom started dropping him off in our "car line" program where we brought him into the classroom, so he was leaving her, not her leaving him. Then, he only sobbed for the first 10 minutes. AND, today, he skipped into the classroom, as if to say that he is SO excited to start the day!

    So, just give it time, and be consistent. Don't let him see that you might be stressed about his anxiety. And, I bet that in a short time, he'll be FINE!
     
  20. Traveliz

    Traveliz DIS Veteran

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    Actually it sounds to me like he is adjusting - sure he is going to tell you he doesn't like it when it might be ok - thinking about yourself - do you ever say - you don't like being at work? You think about him during day? Of course you do! He is just acting like a regular person does thinking they would rather be somewhere else even though they might be having a fine time!

    Liz
     
  21. nikmpayne

    nikmpayne Earning My Ears

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    I read your post and my heart went out to you. Last year was my daughters first year in preschool. She was soo excited to go, she had her backpack and she was smiling ear to ear for pictures. She found her cubby with her name on it and put her backpack away, into class we went and she was in awe of all the toys and books. I gave her kisses and I left, feeling amazed, could it be this easy. She has only been with me/husband or immediate family, so is getting soo big, doesn't need me so much anymore. So, home I went and then went to pick her back up. I walk through the doors of the school, down the hall from her classroom, and I hear crying and instantly I know that it is my precious little girl. She realized I had left 5 minutes after I did and she cried the entire time on the teachers lap. (Thank goodness it is a cooperative class with the high school and there were 2 other "adult" teachers there to attend to the other kids). As soon as I heard her cries, I burst into tears myself. The other moms were wonderful and very reassuring. I dried my tears and as soon as class was over I gave her a big hug. It was rough for the first 3 weeks. She cried everyday, but everyday it got a little less. I did the quick goodbye. I never went into the class, kisses and hugs at the door, a quick reminder of where I was going to be right when class was over and in she went. It does get easier, trust me, I was there. By the end of the school year she loved going and was sad that it was summer (she quickly got over that, lol)

    Having said all of that, her school doesn't start up until mid Oct, so I really hope we don't have adjustments issues again, but if we do at least I will know now that it will get better. I think that was the hardest part, thinking that this poor child will suffer forever. She didn't and she learned a lot and met some great friends that we got together with all summer.

    Good luck. :grouphug:

    Nikki

    Mom to Princess Jaden (soon to be 4) and Princess Addyson (15 months)
     

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