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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Preschool Woes

"Mama, I don't want to go to school. I want to stay home."
"But you like school, don't you?"
"No, I don't like it."
"Well, what do you do in school. Play games? Read stories? Make sandcastles? Feed ducks? Sing?"
"Yeah! We sing. Read stories!"
"Isn't it fun?"
"Yes, it's fun...but you don't leave, okay? Don't leave, mama."
"Well, I have to leave to do some work, but I come back to get you, right?"
"Noooooooo. Don't leave! Don't leave, mama. I want to stay home. I want to do work with you."
"Who are your teachers at school? Crystal? Tiffany? Ashley?"
"Yeah, Crystal. Where's Crystal?"
"She's at school. Let's go say hi to her."
"Okay, we'll say hi, but then let's go home, okay?"
"We'll go home soon, after you do an art project and sing some songs."
"No, I don't want to. I don't want to go to school."
"But why?"
"Because I don't like to."
"Well, it's time to get in the car. Let's go say goodbye to Daddy."
"Daddy, I cry, I cry, Daddy. I don't want to go to school."
"Well, don't you have fun at school."
"Yes, ballet."
"That's right, ballet. And other things, too. And then Mommy will be back."
"No, I don't want to go to school."


At the school:
"Hold me, hold me, Mama. I don't want to go. I need to stay with you."
"Okay, I'll hold you, but let's go to the classroom."
"Don't leave, okay? Don't leave."


I stay and make some sandcastles with them.

"Okay, mommy, you go, okay. You come back."
"Yes, I'll come back."


I go to leave.

Cue screaming, crying madness.

This is wearing on all of us. They have a good time at school, so why the drama? They only go twice a week and I pick them up on time and watch their extra classes with them. Preschool is proving to be very hard for us, for some reason. I don't get it.


  1. Ask the teachers how long after you leave do they continue to cry. That might help you to feel better.

    My little guy was doing this to me and it was tearing me down but it turns out that he would stop crying within a couple of minutes after I had left. Apparently there were days he stopped right after I left.

  2. You've made it so they're scared of going because they know YOU'RE scared of leaving them. If you can't handle them going to preschool right now, pull them out. You are doing them, their classmates, their teachers, and most of all, yourself, no favors by continuing this if you are not comfortable.

  3. I completely agree with Anonymous up there. You stay to build with them? Dude, go home. You're not only making it harder for them, but harder for the teachers and yourself. They are feeding off of your fears and insecurities, and you need to decide if this is worth it. There are kids who cry EVERY SINGLE DAY they're dropped off, but they stop almost the instant their parents leave...because they aren't really upset, they're just wanting mommy to cave.

    Seriously...drop them off, give them a kiss, and GO. HOME.

  4. Thank you for your comments. Please know that you don't have to go anonymous on my account. You can if you want to, but I don't mind hearing it from anyone, known or unknown.

    I do know that I've been messing up with this preschool thing. I don't expect to be coddled. I can't take back what I've already done, and I can only hope in the future I am able to make it easier for everyone involved.

    One of the biggest things right now is that I'm not scared anymore. But I was scared and I messed up, and now I'm not making things better. I trust they'll be fine (and the teachers, too) soon.

  5. Have you thought about putting them in preschool 3 days a week instead of 2? I know it seems counter intuitive, but perhaps going more often would help them get used to it quickly...

  6. hi there - i want to ditto what chesea said about 3 days a week. from all that i have heard and read it is much better because it is more regular, which is what little ones need. good luck! you will figure it out :)

  7. I think that the next time they say they don't like preschool, rather than trying to convince them that they do, you should just repeat back what they are saying. Reaffirming to them that they know you are really listening.
    "I don't like preschool!"
    "Oh you don't like preschool?"
    also I have found with Jack that it is pointless trying to get him to tell me why he doesn't like something so I don't even try anymore, it just makes him more frustrated.
    I don't have any experience with dropping off at preschool or anything, but Jack can throw some epic tantrums if we have to go anywhere, or do something different and making sure he knows I understand that he is upset and allowing him to be upset while still telling him as simply as possible what we are doing usually makes the tantrum ends much faster.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Just try to do the best you can. I agree with Samantha that you should reaffirm they don't want to go to school. I know it helped a lot when Daughter was that age, and even now that she's 5. It's a good trick to show that you are listening to them.

    Also, I know you've heard it like a million times, but it is truly best if you just leave. My sister used to work in a day care and she said the kids that had parents stay and try to calm them down just made it worse. She always told me the best thing to do was to drop off, give a kiss, say you love them and hope they have a good day, and then leave. As much as you want to, don't even look back. I lucked out and the preschool we chose had a drop off/pick up from the car. I never even got out of the car.

    Is there any way your husband could take them for a week or so? Maybe the change in parents would help?

  10. This just breaks my heart. But this will change, Dar, it will. Most kids go through this, and adjustment is hard, but they learn that mama always comes back, and that preschool is, hey, fun! But meanwhile, I know this sucks.

    And I kind of agree with Chels. Going more often might make it more routine for them.


  11. If you do decide to take them 3 days a week, take them Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. It's just that much more consistent for them.

  12. sorry about the bad grammar and spelling in my previous comment (which has now been deleted), I was attempting to type it on my cell phone. whops.

    aaanyway. You aren't doing yourself or the girls any favors by trying to convince them that they really like preschool. they bring it up, you say "really? ok" and change the subject. don't dwell on it, don't keep talking about it.

    as for your drop-off routine... I stick by my earlier question. you say that you aren't scared about leaving them at preschool anymore, but you "stay and make some sandcastles with them". um? hello? can we say lack of follow-through, mom? Drop them off, give them a kiss, and leave. go watch through the one way mirrors if you must, to assure yourself that they are ok, but get the HELL out of that room with the kids! you're only making it worse! how many teachers, parents, observers have to tell you this before you get it? JUST.LEAVE.

    also - are you still taking them home for naps? (i'm hoping the answer to this is 'no', and am going to leave it at that) and why do you go back for their afternoon activities? do the majority of the other parents come for the afternoon activities? That seems like you're being cruel and unusual to them, honestly. "here, babies, let me take you to preschool, but then not leave... once you're finally adjusted I'll come back and distract you by watching you do your activities, reminding you that sometimes while you're at school I'm here, and other times while you're at school I'm not. why in the world are you confused, child?"

    am I being somewhat callous here? yep. do I have a point? I think so.

  13. your story is so heartbreaking! I'd imagine that preschool would be hard for both the child and the parents. You definitely don't want to hear your little precious one crying because you left. I have a feeling that will be happening when I put my twins in preschool. I'm not sure I'm ready for it. My husband and I are looking into one private preschool in our area and it looks really amazing, for the kids that is. Hopefully, they aren't too emotional.

    But, I really hope your troubles stop. It must be pretty hard to hear that.

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