It’s a challenge, but you’ve found a way to juggle working a rewarding job or running your own business and raising a healthy family. Now you’ve hit a snag. Your child loved daycare, playing and interacting with other children and daycare workers. But, something has changed. Simply mention school to your preschooler and she starts crying, that or she grows sullen and nearly refuses to talk. It’s no wonder that you’re concerned.
The good news is that your child isn’t the only kid in town who would rather stay home (or nearly anywhere else, for that matter) than go to preschool. Children don’t like preschool for a variety of reasons, including:
- Poor relationship with preschool teacher
- Bullying from another child at the school
- Change in your child’s mood or personality
- Stressful relationships or situations at home
- Strict classroom rules that your child is struggling to deal with
- Reminder of a previous stressful or unwanted experience
- Health reasons
To get to the bottom of what’s disturbing your child about preschool, sit down and talk with your child. Ask your child about her day, activities that she participates in at preschool, other children that she plays with and how comfortable she feels in the new classroom setting. Don’t pressure your child. Give her time to build trust, open up and be transparent with you.
If you discover that your child hates preschool because one or more children are being aggressive with her, speak with your child’s preschool teacher. Follow up with the teacher and your child about the situation until it is resolved.
You could resolve other preschool issues by sitting in on a class and/or speaking with your child’s preschool teacher about her teaching style and lesson plans that are covered in class. Should studies be too advanced for your child, it could cause your child frustration. This applies to preschoolers as well as to older children.
As educational therapist, Susan Newman, shares in Parenting, “I work with one boy who was forced to write in kindergarten despite his academic immaturity and poor fine motor skills.” She continues, “He developed extreme writing anxiety, which has continued. Now he is a bright child in fourth grade, but he still hates to write, he gets depressed about his school performance.”
It’s also been shown that children learn better when learning is fun. For this reason, if your child struggles with a subject or lesson, you may want to consider reviewing the lessons with your child at home.
Other steps that you can take to reduce or eliminate your child’s displeasure with preschool include:
- Making fun out of personal learning that you engage in (i.e. reading a book, studying a work related project)
- Remaining calm when you are faced with a task that you find challenging or difficult (this gives your child the chance to mirror positive behavior while feeling pressure)
- Reduce stress that your child is exposed to at home. This includes not arguing with your child’s other parent in the presence of your child, focusing on your child’s positive traits and offering positive feedback rather than negative criticism when discussing shortcomings that your child is exhibiting.
- Speak with your child’s teacher and find out if other students are struggling with strict classroom rules. If the preschool allows parents to volunteer with classroom activities (i.e. reading stories to children), consider volunteering. This could give you a firsthand look at the rules the teacher uses. Should the classroom rules seem too strict, speak with the teacher. If this doesn’t produce positive results, speak with the preschool director.
- Visiting the pediatrician and getting your child a thorough checkup to ensure that your child isn’t experiencing physical discomfort. Should medical tests reveal that your child is challenged with issues like anxiety, depression, sleeplessness or headaches, seek solutions from your child’s doctor.
Also, continue to spend quality time with your child. Pay attention to other changes, if any, that you see in your child when she’s away from preschool. Should your child not begin to calm down about preschool, consider removing her from the school and placing her in another school.