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Leaving your 3-4 year old crying at preschool - Isn't it the same as Crying It Out? - Page 2

post #21 of 95

DD started preschool/daycare last year a little while after she turned 3. Initially I wasn't sure it was a great idea but she's so social and loved it so much when we went to visit I figured it would be good for her. The first few months were great, then I guess the excitement wore off and she started crying when we took her in to drop her off. I think part of it had to do with dropping her off early before most of the kids and other teachers showed up. I did keep her home some days because I felt bad, but sometimes I had no choice but to take her and when I picked her up she always had exciting stories to tell about the day and sometimes she didn't want to leave. When I started working part time later in the year she cried a couple times but DH said that she would immediately get distracted with something else. 

 

She stopped school in December and had been practically begging to go back so we signed her up at an actual preschool for fall. Now that it has been a year the experience is much different. She's always excited to go to school and never worries about us leaving. The other kids cry though and it's really hard to watch. I don't think I would want to take her if we had to go through that - it's only for a few hours anyway and it doesn't seem worth it to me to have to go through so much separation anxiety. 

post #22 of 95

This is a complex situation. It seems like some feel the issue is that CIO is bad and it is important to determine if leaving your 3 year old crying with strangers at preschool is an example of CIO. I think the important issue is if it is in the best interest of the 3-4 year old to be left at preschool. The young child can learn socialization skills and anything else she or her needs to learn while with a parent, family member, or primary caretaker. I would never (and never did) leave my child at a preschool. 

post #23 of 95

I don't see how this is the same as "Crying It Out" at all.  It was hellish when I first had to put my son (then 18 months) in daycare, but his father had to go out of town for several weeks and really, it was becoming too difficult for him to both work and entertain/teach an 18 month old everyday.  The first day I stayed an hour and he wailed when I left, the second day 30 minutes and he wailed when I left....then we didn't even go on day 3.  But I read that day that the best thing to do is stay no longer than 5 minutes and leave in spite of the crying.  The advice that made sense to me said that the child needs to learn to trust their new caretaker and that trust can be built very quickly if that caretaker is the one to comfort them when Mommy leaves...the one to reassure them that Mommy will return and that they will have fun all day.  My son stopped crying completely by the end of the second week.  I know every child is different, and my son was already a social butterfly with an independent streak, so this worked for us. 

post #24 of 95

Speaking as a mother of 3 ages 12,7 and 5 all of them went to preschool I am also a nursery directory at my church and have worked in both a moms morning out type program and in a preK program all of which have criers.  YES the best thing to do is to kiss them goodbye and promptly leave.  The crying will stop and your child will learn a very important lesson in life.  Mommy is not the only person I can be with, have fun with, learn from and be loved by and safe with.  You are not leaving your child with strangers that you do not trust.  Your child needs to learn this independence and social skill.  It is essential to life and the most importance lesson is yes mommy leaves but she always comes back.  Trust me it is much harder on you then your child. And yes I had a crier too.  But I have been on the teacher side of many more criers and if you stay and make it long and drawn out it only makes it worse on the child and you and the teacher.  Make sure you talk to your child in a positive way about you leaving them at preschool.  Concentrate  on the fun and the friends not the leaving part.  Then on the first day kiss her and say good bye and remind her that you will return in just a little while.

post #25 of 95

My kids started full-time daycare at an excellent infant/toddler program when they were still babies, so you'd think that preschool crying wouldn't be an issue for us, but it was.  Some mornings are just rough, and even kids who are comfortable with the care providers and enjoy preschool can melt down at drop off.  Heck, sometimes DS melts down outside elementary school. 

 

I don't think handing a child to another caring adult is CIO.  The child's needs will still be met.  And sometimes children have needs that parents can't necessarily meet by being primary caregivers 24/7.

post #26 of 95

At one preschool, tears and fear. At another, super warm teachers, warm, well-planned environment and happy to run in every day. Same parents, same child.

First grade at one school, tears and fear. At another, super warm teachers, warm, well-planned environment and happy to run in every day. Same parents, same child.

For a child who is sensitive to whether there is chaos, whether there is warmth, whether there is security, for that child it has been worth it to look for the right situations. Was that child permanently damaged by that first preschool and the first grade school? Uncertain. But I am positive that there is more learning going on for a child who is happy and not stressed out. It was worth it to find the right place and the right people.

post #27 of 95
I understand that this comes from an incredible position of privilege, but I've never left my children crying for me anywhere, and it is very hard for me to imagine doing so.

Honestly, I wouldn't just walk away from a crying child if the reason for the crying was because they didn't want me to leave them. (Again, I am very fortunate to be in the position not to need childcare outside of myself or DH - so I've never been forced to leave one of the kids. If they don't want me to go, that's okay - I'm willing to stay or say we can try again later when you're ready.)
post #28 of 95

I think this is one you need to trust your gut on.  My daughter has anxiety. Even before I knew this I knew she would not do well if I left her, where she would feel alone, insecure, and betrayed.  She would panic.  Her preschool teacher was so warm and welcoming and willing to work with us to make sure my daughter felt safe and loved at preschool.  The three of us worked together to ensure everyone was comfortable, which did require me staying for the first week.  She is a veteran at preschool now and still needs me to stay sometimes, and drop-offs are never short.  While she is gregarious and social, she also needs time to transition.  

 

My second child would do fine with the quick good-bye and a trusted, compassionate caretaker.  In that case, I agree with most of the advice here: a quick good-bye is fine and she'll probably be happy in about 30 seconds.

 

You know whether or not your child is like this.  ;)  If so, don't let other people convince you otherwise. Choose an environment that meets your and your child's needs. 

post #29 of 95

My daughter is very sensitive, and we made a HUGE life move (to another continent) just months before starting preschool.  I knew she would not be ok to be dropped off in a new environment without me or my husband there especially in a new culture where people treat children very differently than what she was used to, so we were able to take her to a "holiday club" for 2 weeks before school started where I stayed with her the whole time.

 

When school started, she did fine the first week but then regressed.  She would start crying in the morning at the first mention of school and cry all the way to school.  She also started waking up at night.  It was clear that it was just too much for her, so we pulled her out (she was 3.5).

 

When we tried again a few months later (just after turning 4), I stayed with her the first few days and then a beloved babysitter stayed with her a few more days.  There were still tears for a few days when she started staying without us but I stayed within earshot to make sure she calmed down quickly.  She calmed down within minutes and was fine the rest of the morning.

 

She just started in a new class where she already knew and loved the teacher and there have been no tears.

 

I think it all depends on the child.  For my daughter, I think it would have been too overwhelming for her to be expected to adapt to such a new environment without me or another familiar caregiver.  I was very grateful that we were able to make it more of a slow transition for her.

post #30 of 95

I have never understood the developmental value for young children in pre-school. I know Head Start was a program designed to take under privileged neighbor hood kids out of a unstimulating home environment and give them some needed early childhood learning.  Day care was created to assist single parent children babysitting while Mom had to work. But intentional pre-school for the children of educated, financially stable families makes little sense. The stress doesn't balance with the so-called benefits.  Crying upon seperation does not foster independence, just emotional trauma and stunted development of trust.

post #31 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by godseniale View Post
 

I have never understood the developmental value for young children in pre-school. I know Head Start was a program designed to take under privileged neighbor hood kids out of a unstimulating home environment and give them some needed early childhood learning.  Day care was created to assist single parent children babysitting while Mom had to work. But intentional pre-school for the children of educated, financially stable families makes little sense. The stress doesn't balance with the so-called benefits.  Crying upon seperation does not foster independence, just emotional trauma and stunted development of trust.

 

WOW, tell us how you really feel there. I guess I am one of those parents that forced emotional trauma and stunted development of my poor poor children by letting them go to daycare. Yes, we were financially stable enough that I definitely could have quit the challenging and exciting job I loved. I didn't. So what does that make me?

 

I am not going to even go into any details about all the friends and activities and parties my kids had due to daycare. 

 

Oh, and I will tell you now what that makes me. A strong, confident, interesting parent with two happy, bright, very social kids.

post #32 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by godseniale View Post
 

I have never understood the developmental value for young children in pre-school. 

 

The value for my children was in having a fun, interesting place filled with fascinating materials (equipment, books, manipulatives), engaging and caring instructors, and a diverse group of friends to spend time with for a few hours in the morning. Not hard for us to understand the value at all.  

post #33 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by godseniale View Post
 

I have never understood the developmental value for young children in pre-school. I know Head Start was a program designed to take under privileged neighbor hood kids out of a unstimulating home environment and give them some needed early childhood learning.  Day care was created to assist single parent children babysitting while Mom had to work. But intentional pre-school for the children of educated, financially stable families makes little sense. The stress doesn't balance with the so-called benefits.  Crying upon seperation does not foster independence, just emotional trauma and stunted development of trust.

 

I agree that preschool is not necessary for all but it can be fun. My two loved preschool. They went a couple mornings a week. They got messy, sang songs, played with toys and materials we didn't have at home.... it was nice and they still look fondly on those days at 12 and 16.

 

I used to teach underprivileged preschoolers. I saw a ton of benefits for almost all the kids (some coming in with little English, some didn't own books or crayons, some were essentially be raised by older siblings and TV, some of the stories they'd tell were heart-breaking.) I moved to privileged preschoolers and there were less benefits for sure. Some kids I would have sent home because they weren't enjoying the program. However, very few kids cry and to discount preschool for children because of a small handful, seems wrong. Like I said, mine liked it despite having educated parents and coming from a stable home. It was fun.

post #34 of 95

You've gotten a lot of great advice here!  The one thing I wanted to add is that it may help to have a parting ritual that you do with your child.

 

My son started preschool/daycare just after turning 2.  He had previously gone to a small home childcare since 3 months old, so he was quite accustomed to being away from me, but the new environment full of unfamiliar people was hard for him.  I had arranged to stay 2 hours the first day, 1 hour the second day, then leave quickly after that.  The first day, they told me he was sad all day and would not nap, but he did sit in a teacher's lap and whisper with her during nap time; then he conked out on the floor in the late afternoon.  Beginning on the second day, they told me he calmed down within 10 minutes of my departure and had a good time playing--but I would never have guessed it, based on his TOTAL SCREAMING SOBBING FREAK-OUT every time I left!  He did that every day for about a month, then about once a week for another month, but after that he'd do it only once in a while, especially on the first day back after vacation.  As he got older and more able to talk about his day, I was convinced that he truly did enjoy school but just had a hard time parting from me.  After all, I AM the most wonderful person in the world. :love

 

We gradually developed a ritual that I thought was silly but that really seemed to satisfy him.  After hanging up his coat and taking his lunch to the refrigerator, we would go into his classroom and greet his teachers.  Then I would crouch down to his level, hold both his hands, shake them up and down, and say, "A double hand-shaking."  Then just the fingers: "A double finger hand-shaking."  Then I'd hold his arms just below the elbows and flap them: "A double arm hand-shaking."  Then I'd hug him and say, "And a BIIIG hug for my very special Nicholas to last ALLLL day."  We did this every day for years, until shortly after he started kindergarten at a new school, when he informed me it was no longer necessary.

 

It was also helpful that his preschool teacher noticed within the first week that he really liked to do "The Chicken Dance", so when she saw that I was getting ready to leave, she'd cue up the music.  My son would hear the music between screams and start flapping his arms, almost as if he couldn't help it, and pretty soon he'd be dancing along, even if he was still crying.  Strange, yet effective!

post #35 of 95

My 2yo (now 5 and happily attending kindergarten)  cried when i tried to leave him at a 2hour preschool/playgroup. Fortunately parents were allowed to stay, and i did, until he said to me 'Mommy get coffee', in other words-get out of here mom, i dont  need you anymore!

 

I dislike places that force parents to leave...most do.

 

I know its hard in this modern busy 'gotta-earn-a-living-and-leave-my-baby-behind' world of ours, but our children feel pain when separated from their primary caregiver-they feel pain, they cry, and its that simple.

 

Leaving the child to cry, whether with a caring adult or not, is saying 'this big adult world takes precedence over your big feelings kid, get used to it.'  In that respect, it is like CIO.

It differs in other obvious respects.

 

Even after only 2 hours my son would say that his favorite part of the day was when i picked him up.

post #36 of 95
Thread Starter 
I understand that a lot of parents don't have choices and that I am looking at this from a place of privilege. I guess I just wish that more preschools gave an option to stay with your kids and make the transition more gradual for those parents who are able. I think it's probably a short lived trauma for the kids, but I still feel like there's some level of trauma. Not huge but the child is feeling pain and potentially abandonment, right? That's what the crying is about, isn't it? Or do people think it's just discomfort at the transition? Maybe I'm assuming feelings that aren't there. That's another possibility.

I'm open minded about this. Just trying to think it through.
post #37 of 95

I dunno. We have taken our daughter to day care only a few times and left her in the church nursery almost every week (the nursery is staffed by adults). She typically is totally disinterested in us as soon as she walks in and sees all the toys and stuff to play with. 

 

But today my husband got up with her and fed her breakfast (as he typically does). When I took over caring for her and he left for work, she was crying for her daddy, despite his efforts to do a nice farewell ritual, and was upset for quite some time... despite me being with her. Am I the inferior caregiver? I hope not. I do think the idea that you can't always be with the person you want to be with is a part of life that kids have to learn sooner or later. In whatever way the parents can ease the transition, sure, might as well do it. But I'm pretty sure my daughter was going to cry today no matter when my husband left for work, and I don't think that him just not going to work is a good choice in that situation either. 

post #38 of 95

Just fyi to add to the responses. With DD - she cried like a banshee for a week - the teacher literally had to pry her fingers off of me. (I waited outside the room and she always calmed down within five minutes or less.) After a few weeks, she cried if she couldn't go (because of illness, snow day.) Today she is probably one of the most independent people I know, child or adult. DS has so far run off with a quick goodbye and not a moment's hesitation. 

 

I think for the vast majority of kids - it's a transition, and they'll deal with it. For *most* kids - "caving" in and waiting, coming to get them, etc just makes it much worse. The difficulty is knowing and responding when your kid is that rare one who lies outside that majority. 

 

Good luck. One day when they are driving way in your car you will look back and laugh at worrying about preschool. :) 

post #39 of 95

I agree with whozeyermamma that, for a lot of kids, it's the transition that's hard.  A more gradual transition isn't better, because that just drags out the difficult part.  The ideal is for the transition to be instantaneous, for the kid to go straight from you to a loving, caring adult who can engage them (instantly) in a fun new activity.  This ideal would run up against all kinds of practical challenges even if it didn't preclude the parent from getting a kiss goodbye.  (It would definitely be easier to leave the kids at preschool if I just walked in and walked right back out, but I need my sugar.)

 

The easiest daycare drop off I ever had was the day 2.5 yo DS walked into his classroom and made a beeline for a pair of scissors that had gotten swept halfway under the radiator.  Nothing but trouble could have distracted him so efficiently.

post #40 of 95

I am pretty against CIO, except for the occasional miracle child that it works on after a super short duration, as one of my friends' babies was. This is absolutely NOT the same as CIO. I leave my 26 month-old with caring professionals 3 days a week who cuddle her as she cries, and she is there with all of her little friends. CIO involves leaving a baby alone, sometimes terrified. Your little one will be just great! Every single time my daughter cries as I'm leaving, by the time I hit the exit door or my car door (I see her in the window) she's already done crying. It is heartbreaking, and certainly not easy. I have learned to leave pretty fast, once I get her in her teacher's arms. It's like ripping a band-aid off. I feel strongly that good, solid, attachment parenting means that we have a bond with our child that enables them to feel secure when we are not physically attached. Also, I think supporting a full spectrum of emotions is crucial. Little ones are gonna cry. Parents leaving them at preschool/daycare sucks. It is cry-worthy. For all of us. And we are all going to be OK. Hope this helps! :stillheart

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