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My lovely 3.5 yr old boy started attending a forest school one day a week 5 months ago. For the first few weeks he was absolutely fine, does not mind us leaving him there at all even though he'd only ever been looked after by us, grandparents & close friends. He's very independent & loves being 'dropped off' with his grandparents or a friends houses.

However since the first few weeks we have had a battle every Thursday getting him out of the house for school.

From the moment he wakes up he says he doesn't want to go, he kicks & melts down when getting his clothes on, he says he doesn't like it there & wants to stay home (but can't give any reason why). He's fine once he's in the car & is happy when we drop him off there, never had any tears or worries at the gates. He always seems to be having a great time when we arrive, although doesn't seem to have formed any friendships (doesn't talk about any children from there, just one of the members of staff he's close to).

I hate to force him, but we love the place, the staff are great and we're sure he has a great time when he's there.

So if anyone has any advice, or a similar experience... if he says he doesn't like it and doesn't want to go do we take him out? If he said he wanted to be with me instead I would take him out, but it doesn't seem to be an attachment issue.

He does the same thing on a Saturday morning when we go to a music group (where we stay & join in with him). Is he just being a three year old or do we need to rethink these activities for him?

Thank you in advance!
 

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:bump: Bumping up for more attention. My son is only 2 so I haven't experienced this yet. Can some other parents help out?
 

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My 3.5 year old used to do this, even for activities he loves. I only have the one, so I can't attest that it's "normal", but it's certainly normal in our house. He goes to a preschool two days a week and drop-in childcare once a week and usually put up at least a little bit of a fuss. After many months of the same routine and being reminded that a) it's not really optional and b) he has a fantastic time once he's there, he's more or less stopped complaining about it. He will still drag his feet and complain from time to time, but he's a bit of a homebody (as am I) so I attribute it to him simply wanting to lay around the house all day.
 

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My cousin had this type of issue with her daughter when she was 3 or 4 and taking piano lessons with a teacher who specialized in young children. She enjoyed the lessons once she was there, but it was a big fight to get her to go. Finally my cousin decided that, the next time she said, "Today we're doing blah blah and then your piano lesson," and her daughter started, "I don't want to go to piano!!" then she would respond calmly, "Oh, I see. I'll call [teacher] and tell him you're not coming today." When she did this, her daughter got very quiet. The day progressed; near the time the lesson would have been, her daughter asked several times, "I'm not going to piano? I'm not going to see [teacher] today?" and she confirmed that. At bedtime her daughter broke down, crying that her teacher's feelings were hurt by her deciding not to come. My cousin explained that her daughter did not have to take piano lessons, but if she wanted to continue them she needed to go every week without a fight. There was no further problem.

I have mixed feelings about that approach. It worked really well with that child. But my son, even by 3 years old, was constantly challenging parental authority and trying to control every situation; although he didn't always WANT the control (sometimes he's asserting to make sure we will clamp down on him!) generally his response to our doing his bidding was to refuse to take any responsibility for the outcome, which is pretty much backward from what a parent would like to see in this type of situation--in the above scenario, he'd most likely have twisted it into blaming me: "[Teacher] is sad because YOU cancelled my lesson!" I would be still hearing about it 7 years later. :eyesroll

So it depends very much on your child's personality, but because the strategy worked so well for my cousin, I'm putting it out for you to consider.
 

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My best friend had this same issue-- she eventually realized it was an anxiety thing and giving her daughter more attention seemed to resolve the issue. Hope that helps :)
 
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