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How can I help my daughter stop crying when I drop her off at school?
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How can I help my daughter stop crying when I drop her off at school?

My daughter is 4 years old and enrolled in a preschool program that is 3 days a week, half days. She was doing very well for about 2 months and then I was advised that she was having crying fits in school. Crying for me! At home she talks positively about school and her teachers. She says she likes school. In our bedtime ritual I always make sure she knows that she has school the next day and in the morining at home I tell her I am making her lunch for school and that she has to get ready for school. She does not give me any problems. However every morning when I take her into school to drop her off the whinning and crying start. I quickly kiss her goodbye tell her I love her and I'll be back to pick her up. She is doing better during the day but the morning is terrible. I am frustrated and feel very guilty every time I leave her. Am I doing something wrong? How can I help all of us (teachers included) have a better morning?
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You are doing nothing wrong. You are handling the situation just as it should be handled. Some children experience this kind of sadness at separating from parents, but it is not something you should be alarmed about. Persist in your sensible approach; she will be fine. You are doing the right thing by helping her adapt to the requirements of attendance at school. There's nothin for you to feel guilty about.
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I'm no expert here-I have 5 children and each one has been so different about leaving mom...but I have a 8 year old who actually did just as you describe when she started pre-school.  I know how trying it is on your patience-like I said she is 8 now, and still we have difficult days (she has anxiety issues), but this is what I did - give it a try - or maybe you already have...We (together) made a chart to put on her bedroom door. Similar to a chore chart-we listed things that she likes to do such as paint, read stories, make cookies, go get an ice cream cone, pick out her favorite dinner etc. The very top line of the chart had - "go to school with a happy face". We bought smiley stickers and taped them to the door - high enough that she needed me to help her-and we would put a smiley on her chart AFTER school when we knew she had a happy day-we would discuss it together and this included leaving for school.I also told her that it was very important that she go to school happy, because there are so many other kids looking up to her example-that made her feel important. We also discovered that there was another little girl having the same issues, so her mother & I decided we would tell the girls that the other really needed her to be happy and was counting on her to be at school too. Anyway, for a week of smiley's she got to choose one of her favorite things to do-Then at the end of the month,we would count her smiley's if she had 5 smileys she got $1, if she had 10 smiles she got $3, and so on. If she had a month of all smileys she got to pick mom or dad and go to dinner and a movie. (or just whatever you want to do) I know that some people think that rewarding your kids for things that they are suppose to do is "wrong?" but I know that I have to go to work and I don't really like to, somedays I want to kick and scream(lol) but I go and I know that in the end there is some sort of reward whether it be $$, a compliment, or knowing I helped someone else etc. Most things in life have consequences-and or rewards-I think that this is a way to teach our children that concept-in a softer fashion. Needless to say, 4 years later, she remembers this and from time to time we still make charts - in ways, I think it helps her to visualize her successes. Oh, another thing that was her absolute favorite choice-was the craft box-I took a rubbermaid container and purchased things like foam, popsicle sticks, glue, buttons, sacks, stickers, stamps, colored paper, markers, pencils, crayons, even used the "un-matchable" socks etc.- and we would pull this out so that she could be creative - she'd make puppets, wall hangings - pretty much everything- but she looked forward to it - and because it was one of her favorite things to do- we made it a little challenging- she had to have 15 smileys for the craft box. And probably the most important thing is to stick with it-there may be tears shed-but this also helps to teach them that setting goals is important too, even if we don't achieve them we just try harder next time - and instead of asking her if she cried at school, I would just start in on the positive things of school, like what they talked about etc. and I found that when we would get home and go to put a smiley on her chart she would say-"well, I cried a little today" I would ask her if she felt she deserved a smiley or not-surprising, most of the time she would say, "maybe not, I'll try harder tomorrow" I found that if she was in charge of it she was more aware of it-does that make sence? Sorry I've rambled -I hope that some of this will be helpful for you-good luck-let me know how it goes!
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A related discussion, Toddler crying at pre-school was started.
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