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

post #41 of 95
When my son was 2.5, we thought it would be a good idea for him to go to preschool 2 days a week. He seemed excited. His grandparents took as we were both working. The preschool had the CIO philosophy. In the second week we pulled him out. He was terrified to go. When he was to start kindergarten he kept asking "Mommy, I don't have to go back to that school, do I?" He is now in grade 2 And he still remembers his bad experience all these years later. My opinion is, if your child is not adjusting well to the preschool experience and it isn't necessary for them to go, then I don't think it's worth the trauma. You also have to do what is best for you child and their personality.
post #42 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.

 

Preschool is not necessary for healthy development, neither is kindergarten (grade one is the "official" start of elementary school here), but it is a good option for a lot of families.

 

My 3 children were fortunate to not need daycare, as I was able to stay at home through their early years. Given their temperaments, my boys would not have done well in a daycare situation, especially my middle son, as he is introverted and anxious, but a gifted artist (we knew at age two) and a very deep thinker. He needs a lot of down time and being with other boisterous children for many hours a day would not have been helpful. My daughter is much more extraverted and would have done better than the boys.

 

However, I did choose to send all three to preschool. By the age of three, they were all fine with being dropped off twice a week for a few hours. I enjoyed giving them this opportunity to make new friends and try new activities, and they all did really well. We practiced attachment parenting and family bed (when they were young -- they are now 15, 13 and 11 and very independent kids), and never did CIO in any situation. We chose to parent this way to create solid attachments with our kids. Perhaps this is why they never cried about being left? They've all been comfortable with staying at friends houses for sleepovers too (many of my daughter's friends can't make it through the night without calling home to be picked up.)

 

Sending them to preschool saved my sanity somewhat as well, because I am also introverted and need to have some downtime to refresh/reset. My daughter, especially, was hard to keep up with. Sending her to preschool gave her the opportunity to be her more extraverted self. :-)

post #43 of 95

I have at least three perspectives here, as a mommy, as a former preschool/kindergarten/first grade teacher, and as a Waldorf-inspired home daycare provider.      There are always shades of grey and complications and exceptions and nothing is clear cut in life.  So I won't be providing any definitive answers here, just some things for parents to think about when they make their decisions.

 

As a teacher, I definitely saw that the moms who thought their child was going to have fun at school generally had children who made the transition easily, while the moms who were worried about it had children who had trouble.    (Though there were exceptions in both directions.)  We were always trained that the mother was projecting her fear of separation and her own need to be needed onto the child and that the best thing to do was to reassure the mom that the child would be alright and get the mom out the door ASAP so that the child could move on, get away from the mom's "anxious influence," bond with the teacher, and see what fun s/he'd have at school.  We were trained to be calm about the crying ourselves, and while being warm and supportive and accepting, to not take the crying too seriously, to convey to the child that s/he could handle it and it would be alright, and that sadness and separateness weren't things to fear.  There was also unfortunately a certain subtle feeling that we, as professionals, could take better care of the child than the mom could.  But even back then,  I always wondered which was the cause and which was the effect of the mothers' anxiety.  Perhaps those moms were more anxious BECAUSE they were tuned in to their children and knew their child's temperament and knew it would be hard on them.  Or perhaps it was a genetic thing and both parent and child were anxious or sensitive by nature.    Each child has different needs, and in my opinion, the parents generally understand these needs better than even the most loving and perceptive teachers.    Some children will be completely happy at a nurturing school from the very first day; others will cry a bit each day for a couple of weeks and then be fine, while others will be sad every single day until they're home with mom again.  I have seen children who were able to scream literally for hours for many weeks in a row, and then seemed to give up rather than to be content.  I have seen children who sit apathetically no matter what loving teachers try to do to involve them, who can only enter comfortably into the group setting from their mother's laps.  I have seen a child stare out the window looking for his mom's return for ten hours straight, day in and day out.  These were not "disturbed" children, they were perfectly normal children who were fine so long as they didn't have to be without their moms.  They all grew up fine.  I have also seen a child scream as if she were being tortured until the door closed  who was then completely full of  fun--this preschool, fortunately for this particular mom's comfort, was a laboratory school with one-way mirrors for education students and psychologists to observe the goings on in the classroom without interfering and the mom was able to see for herself how her child not only stopped crying the second she left, but was clearly completely at peace and joyful.  None of us ever figured out exactly why she needed to do this, but she did.   This was not a so-called "spoiled" or "manipulative" child either.  (I hate those terms but don't know how else to describe it quickly.)

 

We were also trained to downplay the child's distress when discussing it with the parent so that the parent could trust in his/her child's well-being, which was supposed to help the child feel more secure.  Unlike most of my coworkers, I was never willing to lie to parents about a child's level of distress, feeling that they needed to know the truth in order to take good care of their children;  my supervisors all originally felt this was unprofessional of me, but they all came around when they saw that the children in my classroom were, if any different at all, less distressed by separating from their parents than the other children, not more, probably because their parents and teacher were a team, trying together to take care of them.  The schools at which I taught kindergarten and first grade all had very strict "parent kick-out" policies--for only one day, before official enrollment, were parents allowed to visit the class with the child, and then from the very first day of school, parents were supposed to say goodbye at the classroom door.  Even at the preschool level where there was no official rule, there was a lot of emotional pressure on parents not to "hover."   I suppose the clarity could have been good for some parents and children for whom dragging out the goodbyes would have only been painful, but for some, this didn't allow adequate space for a comfortable transition.  The first week, parents were invited for coffee and pastries in the vestibule, and in fact could stay there all day if they had the time to do that, but after the first week they were considered trespassers.  I feel it's very hard to promote an atmosphere of co-operation between home and school with this kind of attitude,  and it's also harder for parents to trust that their children are in good hands when they can't observe it for themselves, so personally, I would look for a preschool that doesn't have this kind of policy.  I was as welcoming of parents as I could be under the school rules and was fortunate to have lots of parent volunteers and a wonderful feeling of being a community together in my classroom, though not as much as I later had when I could make my own rules and establish an atmosphere without interference.

 

As a mom, I was fortunate enough that I never had to leave my children anywhere that they didn't want to be.  I know other people either need to or want to work outside the home or get time away from their children and I respect that, and some moms have to do things outside the home that it would be better for the children to stay away from.  But for me in my circumstances, it was worth it to reduce our standard of living somewhat even when we felt we couldn't, to make money at home beside my child, to work different shifts so my husband could care for the children, to minimize errands and "personal time" and over-stimulating environments, and to do whatever we needed to in order to make sure we never had to leave a child somewhere s/he would be unhappy.  It would have just been too miserable for me, and I worried that it would harm them.  It seemed to have nothing to recommend it and much against it.  Also, I just enjoyed being with them so much.  Knowing preschools as I do, I never felt that preschool was something my children "needed" to do, though there can be benefits for some children and some parents, so I also didn't feel any social pressure to send them to preschool (or to school, but that's another topic.)    Most of you who read this will probably feel differently.  Each of us should definitely be clear on our own priorities and beliefs as we make decisions about daycare and preschool, and know that there are almost always at least two ways to solve any problem, so try not to make any decisions feeling you have no choice, keep looking for the other answers.

 

Another important thing I learned in my years as a mom (I have four amazing adult children; my "baby" is now 21, my oldest is 33) is that the more you give yourself to them and are there for them as little ones, the more you let them be "immature" without making them be "immature" to meet your own needs, the more independent and free they will be as adults (or even as slightly older children.)  A dear friend of mine, an excellent and loving mom but with a different parenting style from ours, was always trying to push her children to grow up quickly, and the children clung and clung for years, while mine, who were always carried, nursed, followed around, never left, etc, were very independent from a very young age.  Some of this is probably inborn temperamental differences, but I've seen the correlation enough times in so many families that I believe there is some cause and effect going on here also.  (And the children who clung DID eventually become independent adults, but it just took a little longer and was more painful for all concerned  than it might have been.)

 

One thing that I think is very important, but difficult, is to be very clear inside yourself at the very beginning why you're doing what you're doing, and under what circumstances, if any, you'll stop bringing your child to preschool.  Do be responsive to your child's feelings, but "man up" and be the parent and decide as confidently as you're able what is best to do, considering the very important factor of his/her feelings, but also all the other factors s/he can't know because s/he's a child.   One very reasonable position would be "He doesn't really need to go to preschool and I don't really need to work, so I'll stay with him until he's comfortable with my leaving.  If he's not comfortable with my leaving at all after two months,  we'll stop with preschool, maybe join a playgroup instead or just stay home and try preschool again in a year."  Another very reasonable position would be "I absolutely MUST work (either for the money or because it's a priority for other reasons) and he's just going to have to get used to this very nurturing preschool I've carefully chosen.  I've set aside three weeks to help him adjust, so we'll start with just a morning and I'll stay the whole time on the first day, and taper off to a five minute goodbye ritual and a nine hour day by the fifteenth day."  Present the plan very briefly to the child, make it clear that you know he can handle it, tell healing stories about other small creatures who survived such a change, be extra-nurturing and understanding of regressing during the times you're able to be together, and then stick with it.  I'm not advocating inflexibility or unresponsiveness, but try not to vacillate even when you have doubts which are perfectly normal for a caring parent to have--self-doubt is an important part of parenting as it helps us do better for our children, and circumstances/new information may require that you change your plan.   But unnecessary vacillating just prolongs the agony---just pull the bandaid off quickly but carefully, jump into the cold water all at once.  Get the bad part over with and get on to better things.  And let your child be held by your own love and strength; he wants what he wants, but he knows he's not always wise enough to choose for himself and that's why he has parents.

 

If you're able to be confident about what is best for your family, and to be compassionate about your child's feelings but not afraid of them, and if you feel it's the right thing for your child, it will not harm him/her or slow down his development if s/he eases into preschool gradually, with lots of parent support, or even doesn't go to preschool at all.

 

 I have also come to believe over the years that so many of us who are compassionate and nurturing parents are a little too afraid of our children's tears.    When they are born, naturally we want their lives to be perfect, but really what they need is to LIVE and that includes experiencing grief and rage as well as love and joy.  We don't need to be perfect, nor do they, we all just need to be human.  We need to make mistakes and learn from them, we need to overcome challenges, and we need to have compassion for the needs of others.

 

Sorry this is so long and disorganized.  I wish you all the best and I know you'll make the best decision for your child.

post #44 of 95
Thread Starter 
Thank you, Cornflower Blue! What a great and wel thought out post. It really helps me think this through.
post #45 of 95
Cornflower Blue,
Your post was very insightful, and I value your opinion as an experienced mom! The part that resonated most with me was where you talked about kids being carried, nurtured, always with you, but being independent at an early age. This has been my experience as well. This is the basic philosophy of attachment parenting, which I love! I have argued with family members over the years about these issues..."You shouldn't let the baby sleep in your bed...You spoil him/her by always holding them...Let them cry a little" You get the idea. But now that my oldest is only 2 years from leaving for college, I know all the emotional effort put into that style of parenting has been well worth it!
post #46 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cornflower Blue View Post
 We were always trained that the mother was projecting her fear of separation and her own need to be needed onto the child and that the best thing to do was to reassure the mom that the child would be alright and get the mom out the door ASAP so that the child could move on, get away from the mom's "anxious influence," bond with the teacher, and see what fun s/he'd have at school.  We were trained to be calm about the crying ourselves, and while being warm and supportive and accepting, to not take the crying too seriously, to convey to the child that s/he could handle it and it would be alright, and that sadness and separateness weren't things to fear.  There was also unfortunately a certain subtle feeling that we, as professionals, could take better care of the child than the mom could.  But even back then,  I always wondered which was the cause and which was the effect of the mothers' anxiety. 

Thank you for this. I've definitely felt judged as a parent at times because of my daughter's high sensitivity and discomfort at separation from us. Those judgments have been an added unpleasantness and source of stress to deal with.

 

Of course I asked myself many times whether I was causing my daughter's separation anxiety by unconsciously passing my own anxiety onto her. But it just didn't make sense to me. I had a very full life before she came along and although of course I love her dearly, I don't need her presence every waking moment in order for my life to have meaning. And the people I tried to leave her with were people I liked and trusted.

 

I must admit that before becoming a parent I'd sometimes rush to judgment about parents based on their children's behaviour. Now I know better. I know very well now that not everything that a child does is a reaction to something coming from the parents. So many things could be causing a child anxiety, including things that a parent has zero control over, and temperament plays a big role too. 

 

Anyway I feel a lot better about the whole separation issue now that she's 5 and she's turning out fine, without ever having been forced to separate from people she loves (or for that matter, without having been to preschool - not that I'm against preschool in a general sense, I'm sure it's great for some kids). She's like a completely different child from the clingy toddler she used to be. She even had her first sleepover a few weeks ago, at her request, and it went great.

post #47 of 95
Best advice I ever got from my child psychologist friend was to stay at school with my son as a parent volunteer until HE decides I don't need to stay. Day 1 - 2 hours. Day 2 90 min. Day 3 about 1 hour. Day 4 "Go Mommy..
Meanwhile several kids sobbing at the fence for hours and could not be distracted or comforted. My son was confident after that, the other kids thought it was fun, teachers not so much.
I am so glad I took the time.
post #48 of 95

to kinda go off topic a little bit... do we ever really separate? i mean yeah we become independent... but even as i approach my 50s i STILL want my daddy and mommy. sadly daddy is in the other world, but it makes my pain so much easier to bear when i can just go 'be' with my mother - with nothing said. 

 

i lost my dad 13 years ago. we were close in a very polite but distant way. society tells me i should recover. parents are meant to die. so i was never prepared for the loss i still feel at times. at those special moments to share or ask for advice. 

 

there are times when the only person with the magic wand, the healing wand who can help me is my mom or dad. i survive without them... but its so hard. 

 

so if i feel that as an adult, how much a child would feel. 

post #49 of 95

I ran a preschool for many years - it was a two year old program for a few hours a day. I encouraged the parents to stay and play with their children for about an hour the first day just to get the kids used to being there and then take them home. The next day the parents stayed for only half an hour of the three hour program and so on until the children were just dropped off (I called it gradual entry). There was one particular child who just did not aclimate and after a month basically still cried for almost the whole time and no amount of trying to engage him worked - the parents and myself had a discussion about it and she chose to pull him out until he was more ready. Most of the other children were fine, walked in and started playing, a few would cry when they were dropped off and stopped as soon as their parents left - those parents I encouraged to drop off and leave quickly. Now I see with my own children that some take longer to aclimate than others, but because I responded to them right away as babies and never CIO, I find that they are very confident individuals and are able to handle seperation and new situations - that's just my experience in my family.

 

I do want to share an annecdote with you. My grandmother was a teacher in a school for many years. When her youngest son (my uncle) was in preschool, one day he said to her "today I'm going to cry because all the children who cry their mother's stay". My grandmother obviously could not stay because she had to go teach and told him so.

 

Good luck!

post #50 of 95

Shuli, you raise an important distinction between the child who cries for a few minutes but whose mom or dad must leave, and the child who, after a month, is still crying. There is clearly a major difference between the readiness and also the temperament of those two children. I don't think anyone would suggest that a child that is miserable in preschool should be forced to stay there and 'toughen up.' The majority of children from reasonably well functioning families make it through drop off just fine. There are a few that do not, and each of those situations should be looked at individually. 

post #51 of 95

Yes, Lauren, I agree with you. That is why I insisted on a gradual entry for the children where over the course of the first week they stayed longer and longer and the parents would leave for longer periods too. Most children do stop within the first five minutes of drop off if there is a caring adult present who acknowledges that they are sad and then engages them in a fun activity and gets them involved in the day.That one particular child that was not ready who wouldn't engage and would stand at the door and scream and cry no matter what we did until the mother came back was a rare case in my career and the parents and the staff acted quickly for the sake of the child and it was decided that he was not ready. But for the most part, crying is normal at drop off time and children settle down quickly.

post #52 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

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.

Yes, i agree its a place of privilege. I cling onto my privilege as firmly as i can.

I agree that  most places do not let parents  stay with their kids. I think the reason is simple-it makes  the job of controlling a large group of children more d difficult with a parent lurking around, it makes it 'unfair' on the others, it basically cramps their style. I  think that making the parents leave, is putting  the teachers needs before those of the children. They really dislike the parents there because its a constant reminder of the fact that the teacher isnt the true boss.

 

It sounds radical, but thats what i think. I dont have much patience for that 'teachers know better than the parent' attitude, especially with young children, nor do i tolerate well the lies they perpetrate  about how necessary preschool is for 'socialization' and what not.  Getting into preschools can be fiercely competitive, and they pick and choose by some random criteria,  certainly not the best  interests of the child.

 

Im so glad i avoided it- but yes, i speak from place of privilege.

 

The program i mentioned above  when my son was 2, allowed parents to be present. But once he turned 3 and 4,  one of the 'mean' teachers,  told me in no uncertain terms that i had to leave after 10 minutes. At that time, my 3yo was crying again, since it was a new  program with a new teacher. I did leave, but i DID NOT LIKE it. I especially didnt like her attitude of  'i know better than you'.

 

But thats how it is. The program was only 2 days a week, and i  wouldnt put up with it any longer than that.

 

I guess im a homeschooler at heart.

 

I think the best of both worlds, is to let the parent stay as long as the child is comfortable. We adults  are capable of keeping quiet and staying a corner (turning off our phones even), while we observe, and comfort our child. Some children  take longer to separate, and thats ok. My now 8yo son, never cried at separation.

 

I respect teachers, but i think they should respect parents more, and allow parents to stay with children who are feeling the pain of separation.  I dont think separating families for the most part of the day, especially at such young ages, is natural.

post #53 of 95

This  sounds good.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shuli View Post
 

Yes, Lauren, I agree with you. That is why I insisted on a gradual entry for the children where over the course of the first week they stayed longer and longer and the parents would leave for longer periods too.

post #54 of 95

Cornflowerblue, I did not read your whole post yet, but  some of the first paragraghs  struck me-yes, this whole attitude is the thing that  annoys me-'moms anxious influence?' what nonsense. Moms care for their kids. Their child cries, they get anxious!-anxious to console! And the whole thing about 'mom wishing to be there is some kind of pathological need to 'be needed'.  So being a mother is psychiatric disease now?Give me a break. Mom is needed, more than the teacher. See , thats the arrogance and stupidity that  i dislike.   Who are the morons that came up with this idea, and got to publish a book that got passed onto  well meaning people wanting to become preschool teaches?

 

I think a parent watching  the program unfold, makes the teachers anxious. I dont feel anxious when sitting in a corner. I feel joy at watching my child grow. I also like that my presence is consoling. When he  was ready, i left.

 

And wait, the mother has a fear of separation? Yes, at 30, 35, 40, im afraid of being alone (gimme a break)  My sensitivity to my child-all something that can, and should be  cured with a drug.

 

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cornflower Blue View Post
   We were always trained that the mother was projecting her fear of separation and her own need to be needed onto the child and that the best thing to do was to reassure the mom that the child would be alright and get the mom out the door ASAP so that the child could move on, get away from the mom's "anxious influence," bond with the teacher, and see what fun s/he'd have at school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #55 of 95

I have run a home daycare for 30 years.  I also do not believe in letting kids cry it out.  So I know that some kids will cry when Mom or Dad leaves.  I do not let them cry it out, I hold them on my lap until they feel ready to start playing.  So, if your preschool is going to take over the job of taking care of your child's feelings, you are giving him or her the gift of knowing that Mom and Dad are not the only adults that can hear and take care of their feelings.  The world becomes a safer place.  I always tell parents to leave with confidence, because they are confident their child is in the right place and will be cared for.  If the parent is confident, the child feels more comfortable.  If I have a child that I can not calm down in a 15-30 minutes, I will call the parent.  They might need a slower start.

post #56 of 95

Thanks  explaining this Cornflowerblue. I hope i come across teachers like you in the future.

 

Below, bolded mine.

 

 

 

Quote

Quote:Cornflower Blue
 

We were trained to be calm about the crying ourselves, and while being warm and supportive and accepting,

 

  to not take the crying too seriously, (ouch)

 

 

to convey to the child that s/he could handle it and it would be alright, and that sadness and separateness weren't things to fear.

 

 There was also unfortunately a certain subtle feeling that we, as professionals, could take better care of the child than the mom could.

 

Yep, i picked up on that

 

 But even back then,  I always wondered which was the cause and which was the effect of the mothers' anxiety.  Perhaps those moms were more anxious BECAUSE they were tuned in to their children and knew their child's temperament and knew it would be hard on them.  

 

Kid gets anxious, mom gets anxious-she cares. Its that simple.

 

Or perhaps it was a genetic thing and both parent and child were anxious or sensitive by nature.    

Each child has different needs, and in my opinion, the parents generally understand these needs better than even the most loving and

perceptive teachers.  

 

Its nice to hear that. Thankyou.

 

 Some children will be completely happy at a nurturing school from the very first day; others will cry a bit each day for a couple of weeks and then be fine, while others will be sad every single day until they're home with mom again.  I have seen children who were able to scream literally for hours for many weeks in a row, and then seemed to give up rather than to be content.  I have seen children who sit apathetically no matter what loving teachers try to do to involve them, who can only enter comfortably into the group setting from their mother's laps.  I have seen a child stare out the window looking for his mom's return for ten hours straight, day in and day out.  These were not "disturbed" children, they were perfectly normal children who were fine so long as they didn't have to be without their moms.  They all grew up fine.  I have also seen a child scream as if she were being tortured until the door closed  who was then completely full of  fun--this preschool, fortunately for this particular mom's comfort, was a laboratory school with one-way mirrors for education students and psychologists to observe the goings on in the classroom without interfering and the mom was able to see for herself how her child not only stopped crying the second she left, but was clearly completely at peace and joyful.  

 

None of us ever figured out exactly why she needed to do this, but she did.  

 

It is mind boggling to me that a people cant figure this out. Its called-loving your child, and caring about him/her-i wonder why that is so hard to understand? The next paragraphs help explain that....

 

 

 

This was not a so-called "spoiled" or "manipulative" child either.  (I hate those terms but don't know how else to describe it quickly.)

 

We were also trained to downplay the child's distress when discussing it with the parent so that the parent could trust in his/her child's well-being, which was supposed to help the child feel more secure.

 

This is called lying to me. I see you  use that word in the next paragraph.

 

 Unlike most of my coworkers, I was never willing to lie to parents about a child's level of distress, feeling that they needed to know the truth in order to take good care of their children;  

 

my supervisors all originally felt this was unprofessional of me,

 

This is scary to me. Your doing the right thing, telling the truth, when it comes to a childs welfare, and a parent-child relationship, telling the truth, is 'unprofessional', What profession is that exactly?

 

but they all came around when they saw that the children in my classroom were, if any different at all, less distressed by separating from their parents than the other children, not more, probably because their parents and teacher were a team, trying together to take care of them.  The schools at which I taught kindergarten and first grade all had very strict "parent kick-out" policies--for only one day, before official enrollment, were parents allowed to visit the class with the child, and then from the very first day of school, parents were supposed to say goodbye at the classroom door.  Even at the preschool level where there was no official rule, there was a lot of emotional pressure on parents not to "hover."   I suppose the clarity could have been good for some parents and children for whom dragging out the goodbyes would have only been painful, but for some, this didn't allow adequate space for a comfortable transition.  The first week, parents were invited for coffee and pastries in the vestibule, and in fact could stay there all day if they had the time to do that, but after the first week they were considered trespassers.  I feel it's very hard to promote an atmosphere of co-operation between home and school with this kind of attitude,  and it's also harder for parents to trust that their children are in good hands when they can't observe it for themselves, so personally, I would look for a preschool that doesn't have this kind of policy.  I was as welcoming of parents as I could be under the school rules and was fortunate to have lots of parent volunteers and a wonderful feeling of being a community together in my classroom, though not as much as I later had when I could make my own rules and establish an atmosphere without interference.

 

As a mom, I was fortunate enough that I never had to leave my children anywhere that they didn't want to be.  I know other people either need to or want to work outside the home or get time away from their children and I respect that, and some moms have to do things outside the home that it would be better for the children to stay away from.  But for me in my circumstances, it was worth it to reduce our standard of living somewhat even when we felt we couldn't, to make money at home beside my child, to work different shifts so my husband could care for the children, to minimize errands and "personal time" and over-stimulating environments, and to do whatever we needed to in order to make sure we never had to leave a child somewhere s/he would be unhappy.  It would have just been too miserable for me, and I worried that it would harm them.  It seemed to have nothing to recommend it and much against it.  Also, I just enjoyed being with them so much.  Knowing preschools as I do, I never felt that preschool was something my children "needed" to do, though there can be benefits for some children and some parents, so I also didn't feel any social pressure to send them to preschool (or to school, but that's another topic.)    Most of you who read this will probably feel differently.  Each of us should definitely be clear on our own priorities and beliefs as we make decisions about daycare and preschool, and know that there are almost always at least two ways to solve any problem, so try not to make any decisions feeling you have no choice, keep looking for the other answers.

 

Another important thing I learned in my years as a mom (I have four amazing adult children; my "baby" is now 21, my oldest is 33) is that the more you give yourself to them and are there for them as little ones, the more you let them be "immature" without making them be "immature" to meet your own needs, the more independent and free they will be as adults (or even as slightly older children.)  A dear friend of mine, an excellent and loving mom but with a different parenting style from ours, was always trying to push her children to grow up quickly, and the children clung and clung for years, while mine, who were always carried, nursed, followed around, never left, etc, were very independent from a very young age.  Some of this is probably inborn temperamental differences, but I've seen the correlation enough times in so many families that I believe there is some cause and effect going on here also.  (And the children who clung DID eventually become independent adults, but it just took a little longer and was more painful for all concerned  than it might have been.)

 

One thing that I think is very important, but difficult, is to be very clear inside yourself at the very beginning why you're doing what you're doing, and under what circumstances, if any, you'll stop bringing your child to preschool.  Do be responsive to your child's feelings, but "man up" and be the parent and decide as confidently as you're able what is best to do, considering the very important factor of his/her feelings, but also all the other factors s/he can't know because s/he's a child.   One very reasonable position would be "He doesn't really need to go to preschool and I don't really need to work, so I'll stay with him until he's comfortable with my leaving.  If he's not comfortable with my leaving at all after two months,  we'll stop with preschool, maybe join a playgroup instead or just stay home and try preschool again in a year."  Another very reasonable position would be "I absolutely MUST work (either for the money or because it's a priority for other reasons) and he's just going to have to get used to this very nurturing preschool I've carefully chosen.  I've set aside three weeks to help him adjust, so we'll start with just a morning and I'll stay the whole time on the first day, and taper off to a five minute goodbye ritual and a nine hour day by the fifteenth day."  Present the plan very briefly to the child, make it clear that you know he can handle it, tell healing stories about other small creatures who survived such a change, be extra-nurturing and understanding of regressing during the times you're able to be together, and then stick with it.  I'm not advocating inflexibility or unresponsiveness, but try not to vacillate even when you have doubts which are perfectly normal for a caring parent to have--self-doubt is an important part of parenting as it helps us do better for our children, and circumstances/new information may require that you change your plan.   But unnecessary vacillating just prolongs the agony---just pull the bandaid off quickly but carefully, jump into the cold water all at once.  Get the bad part over with and get on to better things.  And let your child be held by your own love and strength; he wants what he wants, but he knows he's not always wise enough to choose for himself and that's why he has parents.

 

If you're able to be confident about what is best for your family, and to be compassionate about your child's feelings but not afraid of them, and if you feel it's the right thing for your child, it will not harm him/her or slow down his development if s/he eases into preschool gradually, with lots of parent support, or even doesn't go to preschool at all.

 

 I have also come to believe over the years that so many of us who are compassionate and nurturing parents are a little too afraid of our children's tears.    When they are born, naturally we want their lives to be perfect, but really what they need is to LIVE and that includes experiencing grief and rage as well as love and joy.  We don't need to be perfect, nor do they, we all just need to be human.  We need to make mistakes and learn from them, we need to overcome challenges, and we need to have compassion for the needs of others.

 

Sorry this is so long and disorganized.  I wish you all the best and I know you'll make the best decision for your child.

 

 

post #57 of 95

Contactmaya wrote:

Quote:
 this whole attitude is the thing that  annoys me-'moms anxious influence?' what nonsense. Moms care for their kids. Their child cries, they get anxious!-anxious to console! And the whole thing about 'mom wishing to be there is some kind of pathological need to 'be needed'.  So being a mother is psychiatric disease now?Give me a break. Mom is needed, more than the teacher. See , thats the arrogance and stupidity that  i dislike.   Who are the morons that came up with this idea, and got to publish a book that got passed onto  well meaning people wanting to become preschool teaches?

I am both a developmental psychologist and a mother whose child had some difficulty separating (as described above).  I certainly agree that it would be wrong to believe that children's separation anxiety is ONLY or ALWAYS caused by their mother (or father!) being anxious or needing to feel needed.  However, both these things CAN be true. 

 

In my case, I absolutely was anxious about whether a chain childcare center was an appropriate place for my child.  We had visited, read all the materials, etc., and felt confident in selecting this place, yet it felt just a bit crowded and chaotic and...mainstream.  Unfortunately it happened that the migraines that had been relieved by pregnancy and breastfeeding suddenly returned in full force the day before my son started preschool, so I walked in for his first day in the fragile hyper-sensitive mode that follows a migraine, and then the next one struck while I was there.  Here's a detailed description of my experience of the first symptoms of a migraine--imagine going through that while trying to show a child that preschool is a happy safe place, and maybe you can understand why I think he might have picked up on my anxiety and mistakenly attributed too much of it to the preschool setting.  (In retrospect, I should have called in sick and delayed his starting school.  Pushing myself to do everything I was scheduled to do that week was a horrible, horrible decision that started me on a bad trend that took literally years to escape. shake.gif)

 

As for the need to feel needed, that isn't something I've experienced more than fleetingly myself, but I definitely saw it in the mothers of a few of my friends growing up.  One girl's mom came into the dressing room of the dance studio to "help" her dress and undress for every single lesson through ninth grade.  One guy's mom wouldn't let him do homework alone but insisted on "helping" him, and then when he went to college only an hour away and came home every weekend, every Sunday afternoon she would sob and cling to him and beg him not to go.  That's not normal behavior.  It's not that "being a mother is psychiatric disease" but that it is possible that some mothers will not detach from their children when it is developmentally appropriate.  It isn't "arrogance and stupidity" to alert teachers to this possibility.  It would be wrong to think that this is what underlies every case of separation anxiety--and it sounds like Cornflower Blue's school may have over-emphasized the idea--but it is not a totally stupid idea since it is much more likely in parents separating from their children for the first time, than in parents of teenagers.

post #58 of 95

My daughter is an only child, quite boisterous and usually outgoing. When she was 3 years old I began to bring her to a neighborhood day care 2 afternoons a week so she could play with kids her age and I could accomplish a few chores that were more difficult when she was underfoot. She cried maybe 3 times on separate occasions when I dropped her off and it broke my heart but she was in good loving hands. At an early age I made sure to build trust and gently reminded her "Mama ALWAYS comes back". I'd also include a small "lovey" in her backpack. It was a little polka-dotted stuffed animal and I told her that each polka-dot represented a hug and a kiss from me, and it would be nearby if she needed it.

 

Now she is 5 1/2... if she is feeling insecure about going to school a lovey isn't appropriate, so I include a lunch note or tie a special ribbon to her wrist and tell her that whenever she needs to she can touch it or look at it and know that I am thinking of her and we will be together soon. It's a small little special comfort that helps her be brave.

post #59 of 95

My son is now 2 years 4 months. Exactly one year ago, I tried taking him to daycare several times. I ended up giving up on that idea because it just broke my heart the way he cried for me, knowing that I was trying to leave him there. All I could think was about him wondering why his mommy wanted to leave him behind and not be with him. They can't possibly understand.  Knowing what he had to be thinking and feeling, I just couldn't do it. I sat there crying with him, and they were always trying to push me out of there anyway. I ended up going a different route, which was hiring a babysitter/nanny to come to the house on weekdays (I work full-time from home). This has been a great solution for us, and this way he has one-on-one attention from a consistent caregiver whom he trusts and has me nearby as well. He calls her "aunt."

post #60 of 95

I agree. My children always stopped crying as soon as I was out of sight. When I stayed, it was to assuage my guilt and comfort them, but I knew I was just making it worse. I've seen other children who do genuinely need a bit more support from their parents to help with the transition. They don't stop crying when parents are out of sight. That said, kids are very resilient and it's good to leave them be to navigate new surroundings and relationships. I find it's more our guilt and fear that holds us back from letting them do this. Or it is in my case.

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