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3 year old crying when left at preschool--why isn't this CIO? - Page 2

post #21 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolphin
I'm really surprised that most of you think it's ok to leave a 3 year old in a situation where they are obviously distressed. I think a 3 year old is still so little. I wouldn't expect a child that young to tough it out in a new and strange situation without mom or dad there, unless he or she were totally ready (and some would be, I know). But several days, weeks or even months of crying would signal to me that the child was not ready. I realize some mamas have no choice, but if you do, how do rationalize that?
I agree. Yes, they are older, but the situation is notched up a bit--they're leaving home and left with strangers,not in their own bed. So it's all proportional if you follow, in terms of anxiety.

My son is starting preschool two days a week next month at age 3.5. I expect there might be a transition period where I need to stay in the classroom for awhile with his baby sister along! The teachers are great and let parents stay for as long as they want. For that matter, I could drop in every DAY unannounced if I wanted, they are fine with that. It's a coop and very family-oriented, which is one reason we chose it.

I think if a child needs the parent to stay to ease the transition, there is nothing wrong with that. We shouldn't expect that they can magically cope alone just because they are now in preschool. It's a process, IMO.
post #22 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by saritabeth
It is normal for a child to be sad at first, but 'mama always comes back' is an important thing to learn. Mama only leaves you with good safe adults who will meet your needs is also equally important. I am assuming here that she feels confident in the care her son will receive.

No one is saying tough it out either....This is a teaching moment. Besides, if he really isn't ready she can always change her mind. .
YES! I agree. My son attended a co-op preschool and he had some special needs so I stayed for the first month. It gave me a chance to see kid after kid separate. Some kids didn't cry at all. Some cried for a few minutes. During that time the teacher would hold them in a rocking chair, emphasize "your mom will be back after snack" and then transition them into another activity. Nearly all the kids were over it in a couple of minutes and it was absolutely nothing like a baby alone crying in a room in the dark.

Really, on some level I think people need to have more confidence in their parenting. If you've built a strong attachment with your child that isn't destroyed by being in the care of another caring adult for two hours. If the child isn't ready, the school isn't a good fit or the adult isn't caring that's something else. But, for most kids this really isn't a problem. Moms tend to cry more than the kids!
post #23 of 113
I am finding it sad that the assumption is that those who think some crying is normal is translated to: the child crying uncontrollably every day the whole year of preschool without comfort or support from the parents.

Im not sure why the need to take this to such extremes. I think most kids make the transition well with the love and support of their parents and teachers. If they aren't then its time to rethink it. No one is saying that she should torture the child and ignore his feelings.
post #24 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolphin
I'm really surprised that most of you think it's ok to leave a 3 year old in a situation where they are obviously distressed. I think a 3 year old is still so little. I wouldn't expect a child that young to tough it out in a new and strange situation without mom or dad there, unless he or she were totally ready (and some would be, I know). But several days, weeks or even months of crying would signal to me that the child was not ready. I realize some mamas have no choice, but if you do, how do rationalize that?
It does help to go a few times and stay for a while to get the child used to the provider and to reassure yourself that your child will receive good care, but crying is normal even for children who have been to child care all their lives. My child cried when I dropped her off at school but her teachers always held her when I left and they would tell me that it only lasted for a minute. I didn't believe this at first but then I witnessed a child who had been in care his whole life doing the same thing when mom dropped him off and it really did last only a minute, the second the mother left he stopped crying and pushed himself out of the providers arms and went off to play. After a few months she would just walk in without even the one minute cry. There was only one time that she was inconsolable and they did call me to get her and I was able to come and have her with me.

I would touch base with the provider often to be sure that your child is adjusting and explore other options if he isn't, but it is very normal for some separation fuss and as long as your provider is loving and you trust her I would give it a chance. I would also encourage you to talk up going to childcare and not speak about any bad parts before hand as this can create fear in your child and cause him to not want to go to childcare. It will take you a lot longer to adjust than it will take him. It took me a year and her mood at home improved after the first day and she adjusted very quickly with only a show of fussing.
post #25 of 113
"Really, on some level I think people need to have more confidence in their parenting. If you've built a strong attachment with your child that isn't destroyed by being in the care of another caring adult for two hours."

While I agree that the attachment won't be destroyed in a few hours, I think if there is a strong attachment, the parent would know whether the child is just having trouble transitioning for a moment or is really distressed at the thought of being left without mom in a situation he is uncomfortable with. Is it really necessary to arbitrarily "teach" a child the lesson that mommy will come back? Isn't an equally important lesson that "mommy is listening to you and respecting your comfort level"? I don't know - it just seems like, at some point, without having been taught the lesson, every child will be ready for this level of independence on his or her own time. I'm not equating this situation exactly to CIO, but it still doesn't feel right to me. And BECAUSE i'm confident in my parenting, I listen to those instincts - they are there for a reason. If the OP is feeling something isn't right about it, there is a reason.
post #26 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolphin
[I Is it really necessary to arbitrarily "teach" a child the lesson that mommy will come back? Isn't an equally important lesson that "mommy is listening to you and respecting your comfort level"? .
Dolphin, these aren't mutually exlcusive ideas. It isn't arbitrary to teach a child that you come back. That is part of a firm attachment. It really isn't arbitrary if you have to leave your child for a job or some other reason.

No one is telling her to not listen to her child or disrespect his comfort level. You are taking this to an all or nothing extreme that isn't helpful to a mama that is trying to figure what it is she needs to do with her child.

if you have read any of my posts you would have seen that I specifically said she is the mama and has to know her child. There is no signing your name in blood when trying out preshcool. If he hates it or she doesn't like it they can change. Thinking your child may cry isn't a reason to not take him to preschool.

Sheesh!:
post #27 of 113
well, after reading that some of you consider i ignored my son when i took him to preschool each day, i have to add that my son loved his preschool and loved his teachers. he hated "separating" from me. he would cry regardless of how long i stayed at the preschool or what time of day it was. he just HATED being separated. once separated, though, he was fine within a few minutes. i know b/c i was usually right outside or if i couldnt be, i called within a few minutes to see that he was OK. when i picked him up, he was all smiles and giggles.
i felt (and still feel) very connected to my son and do not feel he was treated badly at any point in his preschool years. work at that time was not optional, but childcare was in the sense that he could have gone anywhere for childcare and we chose the place he was b/c it was the best for him.
i posted simply to provide a perspective that some kids just dont like that separation. and may cry every day. OTOH, some may never cry (like my first son).
post #28 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by saritabeth
Dolphin, these aren't mutually exlcusive ideas. It isn't arbitrary to teach a child that you come back. That is part of a firm attachment. It really isn't arbitrary if you have to leave your child for a job or some other reason.

No one is telling her to not listen to her child or disrespect his comfort level. You are taking this to an all or nothing extreme that isn't helpful to a mama that is trying to figure what it is she needs to do with her child.

if you have read any of my posts you would have seen that I specifically said she is the mama and has to know her child. There is no signing your name in blood when trying out preshcool. If he hates it or she doesn't like it they can change. Thinking your child may cry isn't a reason to not take him to preschool.

Sheesh!:
Saritabeth: No, it isn't arbitrary to teach a child that you come back. That's something that life and your relationship teaches. IMO, dropping a crying, visibly upset 3 year old at preschool in order to teach him that mom will come back IS arbitrary. And yes, if you have to do daycare or preschool for work, you do what you have to do. But the idea that a 3 year old needs a preschool education is absurd to me, so we might just have to agree to disagree. Preschool should be for fun, something a child wants to do because he enjoys it and is ready for it. Period.

Reading back over my posts, I haven't ever said that the op should never even consider taking her child because she is worried that he may cry. I'm saying if she takes him to preschool and she feels in her heart that he isn't ready because he is crying and really upset, then she should follow her instincts. I think she will know whether it's an "I'm a little uncertain but ready" cry or an "I'm totally freaking out because you're leaving me here" kind of cry.
post #29 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolphin
While I agree that the attachment won't be destroyed in a few hours, I think if there is a strong attachment, the parent would know whether the child is just having trouble transitioning for a moment or is really distressed at the thought of being left without mom in a situation he is uncomfortable with.
I didn't hear anyone suggest that the parent leave a child who isn't ready in preschool or that the child leave the parent with a teacher they don't have complete confidence in.

Also, I think we really would benefit from being honest for a minute. Hasn't nearly everyone here at one time or another underestimated or overprotected their kid in ways that really weren't helpful? I know I have. For me it takes mindful attention to let go a bit.

I've known moms at LLL who wouldn't even leave the child with the dad for 10 minutes to take a walk alone and viewed that the same as crying it out becuase the child may not be happy about it.

I think we benefit as moms from taking a good long hard look at the situation and being honestly that sometimes the worry isn't really that the kid will be hurt or not feel attached, but that it is really about us. Given our role with our children it makes perfect sense that this would be the case, but it is important to be mindful of where that crosses the line into something that really isn't good for all of the people involved and I'd say when a parent fears leaving a child who hasn't even cried yet and sees it the same as leaving an infant alone in a room, it has crossed the line.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolphin
Is it really necessary to arbitrarily "teach" a child the lesson that mommy will come back? Isn't an equally important lesson that "mommy is listening to you and respecting your comfort level"? I don't know - it just seems like, at some point, without having been taught the lesson, every child will be ready for this level of independence on his or her own time.
I would suggest we need to realize that kids are learning lessons all the time whether we try to teach them or not. If a kid is absolutely never without their mom for a few minutes they may well be learning the lesson that it isn't safe to be without mom, that I can't trust people other than mom, and that mom has no needs separate from me.
post #30 of 113
I haven't read all the posts, but I wanted to add my thoughts. It isn't cry it out (well hopefully) he will have someone to comfort him.

I think it is something the mom needs to judge for herself. My daughter loves preschool, she begs to go sometimes won't leave! But I'll still have days when she cries upon seperation. I do my best to make this easiest on her. I've found if I come in and sit down and chat with the teacher and leave once she has engaged, she is less likely to get upset for example. But on the other hand, I know my child well and I know that on the days when I leave and she is crying she doesn't cry long because she really enjoys the activities. Usually the crying is a result of other things - like a too late bedtime the night before.

I am nervous though about her new school she starts in the fall - because the routine is that the teacher takes the child out of the car and walks them into the building. I'm worried this won't give her enough transition time, but we'll just have to see how that goes.
post #31 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolphin
Saritabeth: No, it isn't arbitrary to teach a child that you come back. That's something that life and your relationship teaches.
If you never leave the child how does your relationship teach that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolphin
. But the idea that a 3 year old needs a preschool education is absurd to me, so we might just have to agree to disagree. Preschool should be for fun, something a child wants to do because he enjoys it and is ready for it. Period.
I agree that preschool isn't necessary. Where I think we disagree is that I am confident that my child can experience a negative emotion as part of a broader experience and it is still a worthwhile experience. I don't think he'll crumble if he's unhappy for three minutes after a leave and I'm not willing to deny him three hours of fun. To me it is lot like going to a party. For some of us the first three to five minutes are quite unpleasant and uncomfortable but we may enjoy the rest of it making it a worthwhile thing to do. For some people every minute of it is hell and they should stay home. I won't say that unless every single minute is fun, fun, fun it isn't worth doing or that it is damaging to a person.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolphin
.I'm saying if she takes him to preschool and she feels in her heart that he isn't ready because he is crying and really upset, then she should follow her instincts. I think she will know whether it's an "I'm a little uncertain but ready" cry or an "I'm totally freaking out because you're leaving me here" kind of cry.
One thing we did at my son's preschool was either have another mom wait inside and she could come out three minutes later to let mom know that junior was now happily playing at the sand table or mom could call on a cell phone and check in and if the kid was still crying she could come back and stay for the day. I'd ask at the school what they can do to help here and I'm guessing most schools understand this is difficult for moms. I felt very confident at my son's school that they would distinguish between I'm a little uncertain and I'm not ready.
post #32 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar
If you never leave the child how does your relationship teach that?
I never said to NEVER leave the child. Leaving a child with dad, with a trusted sitter for a couple of hours, leaving with a beloved family member, etc., is totally different from preschool if the child isn't ready. It just is. I can't believe I'm debating this on MDC - not that I mind, I'm just a little surprised.


[/QUOTE] I agree that preschool isn't necessary. Where I think we disagree is that I am confident that my child can experience a negative emotion as part of a broader experience and it is still a worthwhile experience. I don't think he'll crumble if he's unhappy for three minutes after a leave and I'm not willing to deny him three hours of fun. To me it is lot like going to a party. For some of us the first three to five minutes are quite unpleasant and uncomfortable but we may enjoy the rest of it making it a worthwhile thing to do. For some people every minute of it is hell and they should stay home. I won't say that unless every single minute is fun, fun, fun it isn't worth doing or that it is damaging to a person. [QUOTE]

I think we're beating a dead horse here, because crying for a couple of minutes the first couple of days, no, that isn't going to damage anyone. I think I'm being misunderstood for some reason. 6 months ago I tried preschool. My ds cried like he was really panicked. Almost everyone around me said "oh, he'll be fine - he'll get used to it - he'll learn that you'll come back eventually....etc." I thought that was hogwash at the time and I still do. Fast forward 6 months later, and he's starting preschool next fall. He's ready. I know it, because I know him. If I do happen to take him and he cries that panic cry, I'll take him back home in a heartbeat. He's away from me tons - with sitters, with my mom, with his dad. He knows that I come back every time, without my arbitrarily teaching him that lesson (meaning I don't set up the situation for me to leave with the sole purpose of teaching him that). He's been in a few situations where he even surprised me at how independent he was and not afraid to try. And he knows that if he really tells me he's uncomfortable in a situation, I won't force him to do something he's not ready for. I know a lot of moms, when faced with the panic I saw in my ds 6 months ago, would feel pressured to just go through with it, in the name of socialization, or independence, or learning mom will come back, or whatever. And I don't think that's in the best interest of any child.
post #33 of 113
Dolphin, I'm with you and you have said it well (I think). I get the "they will be fine" from people all the time, but if they are not comfortable and ready to be left in that situation, than we shouldn't make them. I hear what your saying.
post #34 of 113
9 times out of 10 the children that cry when their parents drop them off quit as soon as their parents pull out of the driveway. It's their way of letting mom know that they love her and will miss her. We watch in the window together and wave, and as soon as she drives off it's like a switch...no more crying.
post #35 of 113
Thanks Jillie I appreciate that.
post #36 of 113
Dolphin, I think you are taking issue with my idea that kids learn that mama comes back. Obviously if there the child isn't ready, he or she just isn't ready. I wouldn't (and didn't) suggest that anyone make a kid go to preschool or leave their child with people they do not trust. Sounds like you made the right choice for your child. I really no one said pre school was the be all end all either....The op just asked if crying when being dropped off is CIO....I say no with the assumption that we are talking normal seperation, expression of sad feelings that are over and moved on from within minutes.

Clearer?
post #37 of 113
Thread Starter 
I'm the OP (wow, didn't know I would start a debate!), and I think I chose my words poorly--I said CIO, but really what I meant was that I find it difficult to have listened to my child's feelings all along the way, and given them validity, and if he were to be upset, it seems to me that for the first time in his life, I would be ignoring him and leaving him anyway. True, maybe he'll be fine and won't cry at all, but I'm just thinking ahead as to what I'll do and how I'll handle it if he's upset.

I just wanted to see how others felt about it, if I'm being too literal, if I'm being too overprotective, etc. I don't expect him to totally freak, obviously if he does then we'll leave! But if he does cry and doesn't want me to leave, it's going to be hard to do it anyway, even if logically I know he'll stop in a few minutes, etc. It just feels a little contrary to the way I've parented thus far.

So it seems as if some think it's ok, they'll get over it (and if not within a resonable amount of time, he's not ready!) and others who think that if he's upset I should listen. As usual, I guess I'll have to go with my gut!

Thanks to all of you for your insights and advice...
~Carrie
post #38 of 113
i worked at a preschool (WITH my dd in my room with me)
and it was a pretty loving and APish school (alot of the 3 yr olds were still BF and coslept etc)

but is STILL think that a preschool exp is not what kids need.
i do not think you need to learn about mom coming back by being with strangers at the age of 3
infact, i think the whole preschool dynamic is a very odd fabricated way to teach much of anything...
i would NEVER leave my kid in a new enviornment with new people until they were ready.
and i guess a mom can only tell when their own child is ready adn what that looks like.
for me, if my 3 yr old cried, i would know that she was not ready,
and if i left her anyway and she did eventually stop crying and enjoy her morning. i would STILL feel like i was betraying a sacred bond of trust that i have established with her via AP parenting.

my mom went back to work when i was almost 4 and she left me at my grandmas (who i loved and trusted)
and i would freak out when she left....almost like panic atacks..
i would go on to have a good day with my grandma.
but i still do know that my mom did some long term damage on our relationship b/c of that sense of panicked abandanment she left me in every AM.
she had to work, as an adult i understand it...and i love her...but remembering that feeling (and again we are talking about going to grandmas, NOT a room full of strange people with a weird ratio of adults to children, which a room with 6 3 yr olds and one loving adult IS, IMO)
allows me to be confident that i would never do that to MY child in the name of preschool fun.
i think that there are very few 3 yr olds who want or need to be away from their moms for reg amounts of time in a class room setting, i think there are few 6 yr olds that fit that mold too.
if your child cries at K drop off, then i think that is a sign they are not ready either. PERIOD. i wasn't and am still sad that my mom and dad thought that was the thing to do (leave a crying and frightened 6 yr old in a room of strangers for the day)
join a play group if your child needs more stimulation.
begin play dates with a friend that eventualy morph into mommy trades (one mom leaves and the other mom stays and does some preschool like activities)

my neighbor and i do that
we have had plenty of playdates with both moms so both kids feel good together, enjoy each other, trust the other momma, and feel safe at the other's house.

HTH
post #39 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by moma justice
i worked at a preschool (WITH my dd in my room with me)
and it was a pretty loving and APish school (alot of the 3 yr olds were still BF and coslept etc)

but is STILL think that a preschool exp is not what kids need.
i do not think you need to learn about mom coming back by being with strangers at the age of 3
infact, i think the whole preschool dynamic is a very odd fabricated way to teach much of anything...
i would NEVER leave my kid in a new enviornment with new people until they were ready.
and i guess a mom can only tell when their own child is ready adn what that looks like.
for me, if my 3 yr old cried, i would know that she was not ready,
and if i left her anyway and she did eventually stop crying and enjoy her morning. i would STILL feel like i was betraying a sacred bond of trust that i have established with her via AP parenting.

my mom went back to work when i was almost 4 and she left me at my grandmas (who i loved and trusted)
and i would freak out when she left....almost like panic atacks..
i would go on to have a good day with my grandma.
but i still do know that my mom did some long term damage on our relationship b/c of that sense of panicked abandanment she left me in every AM.
she had to work, as an adult i understand it...and i love her...but remembering that feeling (and again we are talking about going to grandmas, NOT a room full of strange people with a weird ratio of adults to children, which a room with 6 3 yr olds and one loving adult IS, IMO)
allows me to be confident that i would never do that to MY child in the name of preschool fun.
i think that there are very few 3 yr olds who want or need to be away from their moms for reg amounts of time in a class room setting, i think there are few 6 yr olds that fit that mold too.
if your child cries at K drop off, then i think that is a sign they are not ready either. PERIOD. i wasn't and am still sad that my mom and dad thought that was the thing to do (leave a crying and frightened 6 yr old in a room of strangers for the day)
join a play group if your child needs more stimulation.
begin play dates with a friend that eventualy morph into mommy trades (one mom leaves and the other mom stays and does some preschool like activities)

my neighbor and i do that
we have had plenty of playdates with both moms so both kids feel good together, enjoy each other, trust the other momma, and feel safe at the other's house.

HTH
Very well said.
post #40 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by mother culture
I think that the difference is he is not a infant who can't express his feelings in words. If he can get you to stay he will. I think you should be lovingly firm and confident in the new caregivers to meet his needs. He will take your cue.
ITA with mother culture. Here's a kind-of-funny story: When I dropped off 3-yo DD at her first day of preschool, I was expecting a freak show of sobbing 3-year-olds in class. Nothing like it! The kids were having a blast, and not a single tear. The only person I saw crying was a mom on the front steps. Poor gal! I bet your DS will have a blast, too.
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