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Kindergartener with separation anxiety
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Kindergartener with separation anxiety

Hi.  I have a five-year-old girl who started kindergarten in August.  It is now December and she still does not go into her classroom without crying.  There are a few days she will, but most of the time not.  There are some mornings she has to be pryed off of me while screaming and crying for me.  She is very smart, not having a problem academically.  She knows about 70 sight words and can read simple books.

The first few weeks of school she would throw up either before she left for school or in the morning on the way to class.  Her doctor put her on Zantac for 2 weeks and that did eventually help stop the vomiting.

Normally she would eat breakfast very well if it weren't a school day, but on school days she really doesn't eat much for breakfast and sometimes not much for lunch.  She does go to school five days a week from 8:30 to 3:00, and there is no nap time.

Her teacher quit after five weeks.  Then there was the same substitute for two weeks.  Now she has her permanent teacher who has been there, I guess, a couple of months now.  She is very nice, fun and enthusiastic.  My girl does like her teacher.  Her teacher says that my girl is happy as the day goes on and does participate in class.

We live too close to the school for my girl to ride the bus to school, so I do walk her to her classroom each morning.
My girl does willingly walk to class, but once we're at the door, she does not want to go into the classroom.  Sometimes her teacher is busy doing something or talking to someone, so she doesn't come over to my girl right away to lead her into the classroom.  I have talked to her teacher and asked her if she would be able to take my girl by the hand and lead her to her seat as soon as we arrived so that I wasn't standing at the door waiting, because I think the longer I'm standing outside the door with my girl, the more time it gives my girl to become emotional.

I did put my girl into preschool for two months during the summer to reassure me that she was ready for the separation once kindergarten started.  She never had one problem when I dropped her off at the classroom door at her preschool which is one reason her having a problem now is confusing me.  Of course, with preschool she only went three days from 9:00 to 1:00 and only had 10 kids in her class.  Now in kindergarten she has 19 kids in her class.

Also she was in day care from 1 year old to 2 years old which she was very unhappy there.  Also she was the type of baby who never liked me leaving the room.

I'm very confused as to how to handle this situation in the morning, whether I should start taking privileges away, or just be very reassuring to her, or rewarding her for going into the classroom without a fuss.

I do wait in the parent pick-up line to pick my girl up at the end of the day, and most of the time she is in a good mood.

I'm desperate for advice on how to get my girl to go to school in the morning happy and not crying.  Thank you so much.

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Basically you are doing fine. It is likely, even though this has persisted for a few months, that eventually your daughter will handle the school situation with more equanimity. If all else is well with her, and she is adapting OK during the school day itself, I wouldn't recommend any professional intervention. You are likely correct in thinking that the extended day and the overall circumstances of the larger class are to account for her having a harder time now than she did during her summer experience. You are handling the situation well at the classroom - it's a less-than-perfect world, so sometimes the teacher won't be able to come right away, but that's OK. You might try the incentive system and see if it helps. If you do, be sure to choose a reward that is meaningful to your daughter. Otherwise there really won't be the leverage you desire in such a plan.
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I wish I could give you some encouragement but I have a 1st grader that still exibits the same behaviors that you speak of.  She gets ill when I leave and Cries most of the day.  Her teacher is a saint but I feel so sorry for her.  They keep saying that she will get over it in her own time.

My oldest child is almost 12 and still has some issues when I leave.  I think some kids just are more dependent on Mommy then others.  As frustrating as it can be I have to atleast feel a little good that it is ME that she wants because I know that I miss her like crazy.

You and your daughter will get through this and some day she will be a smart alek teen ager and you can say "remember when"
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