My 4 yr old has always been going to daycare happily ever since, and I don't remember ever having problems with him during drop-off. Now during lockdown we were home together for two months! Daycare finally opened (to my relief) on June 15th and he got a new teacher. He told me that he likes her and that everything is fine at school. He comes home happily when I pick him up and he doesn't seem to be in distress, this makes me wonder why he puts up such a fuss during drop-off. Some of his close friends didn't come back to school and I think he's acclimating to his new teacher, so he's having some hard adjustments but that still doesn't explain why he's so distressed during drop-off. I tried reasoning with him, bribing him, telling him how proud I'm gonna be if he goes alone to class, but I could see in his eyes that he's petrified to go to class.
In the beginning I thought he's being bullied again (At a certain point he did have trouble at daycare, and the kids would bully him but that was a long time ago), I asked his new teacher but she said everything is fine. I asked my child (he's very expressive) and he didn't indicate any major problems at school, and as I said he comes home happily. But he seems so scared to go into class, and I almost feel bad for him, but at the same time I know it's an irrational fear that he must overcome. He even told me today at daycare that he doesn't want to go home because he's looking forward to go swimming, getting prizes, etc. but somehow when he sees that classroom something triggers his brain to scream NO! Today he was real bad, clinging onto me for dear life, shrieking at the top of his lungs bloody murder, and I left him there helplessly with a horrible feeling in my stomach.
I personally think it's got something to do with the lockdown, the past two months he's become emotionally dependent on me and he's having a hard time letting go of it. He's also getting used to his new environment, new teacher, etc. and maybe that's what causing him distress. On the other hand he's already four and a half and I feel like he should be able to handle his emotions better. Additionally, I feel like he's taking advantage of me, he knows that I have a soft spot for him. I was thinking about punishing him today when he gets home, but it just doesn't feel right to punish him for something he can't control (he really wants to make me proud, he just can't). So how could I encourage him to go to daycare happily? How could I avoid the whatever is triggering his brain to become hysteric and irrationally fearful?