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Our 4 year old started school this September (Reception, we live in the UK). Initially everything was very good, but then she started complaining that she is afraid to leave her parents when she enters school. This got worse over the last couple of weeks, and today the school staff had to carry her into the classroom, and she was crying all the time.

Once inside the classroom, she seems to be doing rather well. The teacher is happy with her, apart from the morning tantrums of course.

Previously she was attending a nursery. Initial 2 months were also really difficult, but then she adapted really well and complained that she couldn't go there every day. We are trying to talk to her, explain, try to find out what she is really afraid of, but so far we failed. What can we do to help her adapt to the school?

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1 Answer 1

I cannot recommend this method enough, because when our change-averse 3-yr-old switched daycares, it made a HUGE difference in her leave-taking of us: have her PUSH YOU OUT THE DOOR. She might cry anyway, but if you can get her to do it a couple of mornings consistently, maybe she can find the fun in it. And it lets her feel some autonomy; after all, you're not leaving, she's MAKING you leave, because it's way too fun there for parents to get to stay.

Anecdata: it also works for our 30-month-old, who isn't particularly fond of his teacher at the moment and is very clingy and scream-y when Mama drops him off (since I'm usually the retriever, and Daddy is the drop-off, that change seems to REALLY hack him off). But a little play-acting, like the push was super-strong and nearly threw me through the door, usually gets me out of there with a minimum of drama and leaves him in a good mood that translates the rest of the day.

ETA:

When we do drop-off, we do kisses & hugs and then say, "Okay, shove me out!" and turn our back to the child. We get a rather enthusiastic shove towards the door, and then play-act it a little more to make it look like OMG BIGGEST SHOVE EVER and walk on out the door. The child is left feeling like "Hey, I took control. I sent Mom/Dad away so I can do my own thing."

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Can you elaborate? –  Dave Clarke Oct 22 '13 at 11:03
    
When we do drop-off, we do kisses & hugs and then say, "Okay, shove me out!" and turn our back to the child. We get a rather enthusiastic shove towards the door, and then play-act it a little more to make it look like OMG BIGGEST SHOVE EVER and walk on out the door. The child is left feeling like "Hey, I took control. I sent Mom/Dad away so I can do my own thing." –  Valkyrie Oct 22 '13 at 12:24
    
Can you edit your answer to reflect this comment? –  Dave Clarke Oct 22 '13 at 12:41
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