Kindergarten Anxiety - leave her crying???? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 08-30-2010, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
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My DD just started Kindergarten last week and managed to go into class reasonably enough last week but wouldn't go in to class today. I stayed outside with her for almost 20 minutes trying to get her to calm down and go into school of her own volition. I finally got her in but she was still crying and the teacher shut and locked the door so she couldn't escape. She also got marked absent, and then tardy.

The teacher and others at the school are implying that I'm making it harder on her by not just letting the teacher or assistant grab her screaming and crying and kicking and take her into class.

I am going to talk to DD after school about this not happening again but am I wrong to not just make a clean break of it for her even if she is screaming and crying? Am I prolonging the anxiety? I don't know which is worse.
Please help!!

Wife to French hubby (8/02), Mama to DD (3/05) and DS (02/07).
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#2 of 12 Old 08-30-2010, 02:35 PM
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It is easier on everyone if you do just leave. A quick cheery "Bye, have fun!!" is always better than prolonging the separation. But, YOU need to be excited for her.

Tell her how you look forward to seeing what's in her backpack at the end of the day. Then, always end the goodbye with "have fun!" Because kindergarten IS fun.

She's anticipating the parts she doesn't like, and not the parts she does like. The more she dwells on her concerns, the more concerned she becomes. It's like going down the big slide at the water park. You know you want to, but you are kinda scared, and the longer you stand at the top and think about it, the more scared you become.

I know you are not doing this.... But, next year, on the first day of school, watch the kindergarteners. There are parents who Actually cry at the door until their child is crying too. Every year, outside of every kindergarten class, there are two moms standing outside crying. It's not funny this year, but, you'll see the slight amusement next year.
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#3 of 12 Old 08-30-2010, 02:39 PM
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Also, I don't want to ignore the "second week illness" issue. For some reason, the second week of school, my daughter is ALWAYS sick. She's truly sick, not making it up. At first I thought she was just being moody. But, after 13 years in school, she gets whatever is going around six days into school.

So, keep an eye on her to make sure she's actually feeling OK. If it's unusual for her to cry like that, it may be that she's not feeling well.
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#4 of 12 Old 08-30-2010, 02:55 PM
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I do think parents can contribute to anxiety. When my son started kindergarten, he was so excited and happy and couldn't wait. My extra few minutes of making sure he was settled in and ok actually unsettled him so I had to leave before I made it worse. As long as she knows that you know she'll be fine, it'll help alot.

I do agree with the pp about sickness though. My kid's coughing up a storm already.
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#5 of 12 Old 08-30-2010, 04:01 PM
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I agree with pp, be cheery and positive, quick goodbye and then walk away. Your LO may be feeding off of your anxiety, or seeing how far she can push you to get you to stay with her.
Make sure she's well rested at night, though. Sometimes the overtiredness of not getting a good night sleep makes dropoffs overwhelming in the am.
Good luck!
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#6 of 12 Old 08-30-2010, 04:05 PM
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Yup, it's really easier on everyone if you keep it short and sweet. By drawing it out, you may actually be contributing to her anxiety-- after all, if it weren't a big deal, you wouldn't be acting that way (in her mind).

I also totally agree with the PP's that you need to make sure she isn't sick or overtired, both things that make school drop-off really challenging.

And what helped my preschool son get through some rough moments at school was the promise (or bribe, depending on your perspective) of a fun treat at pickup. A coloring book or lollipop or something. It gave him something to focus on.

Good luck!
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#7 of 12 Old 08-30-2010, 04:09 PM
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From having my kids in daycare, this is what worked well for us:

Establish a routine that your dd can count on.

Get there a bit early so you can hand her over to the teacher. The teacher can't do much if there are 18 other kids milling around needing attention, but if you come in 15 minutes early, she might be able to sit with your dd on her lap while you leave. Then you're not abandoning her, you're handing her over to another competent caregiver. It's an important lesson for both of you to learn.

Leave after you've handed her over. Have confidence that your daughter will be OK.

If your daughter settles down after an initial period of unhappiness, then she'll be fine. If she's unhappy all day, you might want to look at other solutions.

But for most kids, it's not being away from mom/dad that's the problem it's the separation. That's why leaving once the teacher has her is a good idea. Otherwise what you're doing is stretching out the separation time, which is torture for everyone.

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#8 of 12 Old 08-31-2010, 10:27 AM
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I took the withdraw and homeschool option. Being locked away from me really freaked ds out. He was beginning to show signs of depression, not eating or sleeping well, counting the hours until he'd have to go to school, etc. Until he started school, he never cried unless he was hurt so I took that as a pretty serious expression of the environment not being right for him at that time of his life.

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#9 of 12 Old 08-31-2010, 11:36 AM
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you will also see this same behaviour starting first grade.

there is a lot of anxiety in these two years starting school. not so much in second grade.

gosh mama i can imagine how heart wrenching this must be. and even more leaving your child crying. i have a spirited dd so by her crying i can tell if its a 'i am scared right now' cry or its a I DONT WANT THIS cry.

what i would do is tell the teacher you will remain in the building for half an hour. if at the end of that dd is still crying then you would go get her. if she had stopped you would go home. i hope you can manage that with ds.

also i would advice you to try and see if you can volunteer in class. a lot of moms volunteered with their little ones. it will truly help with your child's adjustment.

if all this fails then you know your child is still not ready for school.

for my dd the first month i would tell her i would be hanging around school for an hour (i really didnt - we lived only 10 mins away) and if she really didnt want to be in class she could call me and i'd go pick her up. THAT meant a lot to her. and gave her the courage to 'try' school. both K and 1st though she had awesome teachers. we also took 'happy days' away from school to give her the mental break she needed. her teacher knew that and fully supported it.

is your dd also getting enough rest? i remember my dd used to be SOOO TIRED the first month or so of school. i sent her to bed extra early.

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#10 of 12 Old 08-31-2010, 10:22 PM
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This was my dd last year (good first week - then hanging, crying the second) and she had been in ft daycare for over a year already

in addition to conveying the attitude of "you are fine - have fun" my dd thrived on the good bye ritual - knowing before how the separation is going to take place is huge - I told her we would do three kisses and three hugs and b/c she's the consummate negotiator she said 'no - four' and that was it (tried this after 3 or so days of tears and hanging on/not wanting me to go) we did it everyday for nearly the entire year - but no more tears
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#11 of 12 Old 09-01-2010, 09:23 AM
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I would be cheery and walk away, but before that I would have a quiet talk with her--the night before--the prepare her. Let her know that she needs to go to school, that you both know nothing bad will happen to her there, that there are fun things she will do and learn there--and she needs to be very brave and walk in by herself.
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#12 of 12 Old 09-01-2010, 10:31 AM
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Does she need to go to school? I only ask because it makes a big difference in how you handle things, I think.

My older dd happily went of to preschool at 2. My younger dd, at nearly 6, is still often not thrilled about separating from me.

Kids are different, and some really aren't ready for school--especially full-time school--at 5. Others just need an extra nudge to help them get over that hump.

Only you can figure out which category your child fits into. Trust your instincts, listen to your own voice, listen to your child, and proceed with that.

(But personally, the idea that they would lock her in the classroom so she couldn't "escape" back to you is pretty appalling.)
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