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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As most of you know, we just recently enrolled my 3.4 year old DD into a wonderful Montessori school. The downside is that we could only get her in 1 day per week until they get more openings (we're shooting for at least 3 days by end of summer). She has been to class 3 times now (half days) and we have actually visited the school a few times prior to that and also attended a parent night where she was around all the teachers. She is definitely comfortable with them. I know that this little issue probably is due to non-consistency, but what would you tell your DC in this situation?<br><br>
Last week on the drive to school she cried the entire way telling me she didn't want to go to school. I started a little tradition with her where she gets a new Littlest Pet Shop pet after school every week (I wanted her to know that I would always come back for her since she was so incredibly scared/nervous about this). She even told me, "I have all that I need. I don't need any more pets. I want to go to the park instead." She threw a little tantrum at the school at drop off, but the moment I left she was fine (I listen from the lobby area). She loves school!! When I pick her up she tells me how much fun she has and has told me several times that she loves her teacher and "she is so nice". She even told the teacher that last week! At home, she wants me to be her teacher (even calls me by her teacher's name) and we play "school". I know she likes it.<br><br>
I just don't know what to tell her in the car when she is crying and saying she doesn't want to go. I have told her, "But you *LOVE* school, don't you?" and she'll wail and say, "NOOOOO!". <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"> I tell her that I will come back for her. I even made the big mistake and said that I would be waiting for her outside of her school, but mommy is too big to stay in the classroom with her (now she thinks I just wait outside. I know..bad move mom). That actually seems to comfort her and make her smile.<br><br>
I know it will get better in time, but it breaks my heart when she cries in the car for 20 minutes. Please, offer me some words of wisdom!!!! Should I just sit silently in the car? Change the subject? Talk to her about it (which just makes her cry harder)? HELP!
 

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I am glad you asked this question.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>BCFD</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10733293"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">As most of you know, we just recently enrolled my 3.4 year old DD into a wonderful Montessori school. The downside is that we could only get her in 1 day per week until they get more openings (we're shooting for at least 3 days by end of summer). She has been to class 3 times now (half days) and we have actually visited the school a few times prior to that and also attended a parent night where she was around all the teachers. She is definitely comfortable with them. I know that this little issue probably is due to non-consistency, but what would you tell your DC in this situation?</div>
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The consistency will help. That does not mean she will not have meltdowns, however. The 5 days/week helps so much.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Last week on the drive to school she cried the entire way telling me she didn't want to go to school. I started a little tradition with her where she gets a new Littlest Pet Shop pet after school every week (I wanted her to know that I would always come back for her since she was so incredibly scared/nervous about this). She even told me, "I have all that I need. I don't need any more pets. I want to go to the park instead."</td>
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She did connect going to school with getting the prize. She found something else that was more meaningful to her than the prize. What we want to begin doing now is developing it so that school is the prize.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">She threw a little tantrum at the school at drop off, but the moment I left she was fine (I listen from the lobby area). She loves school!! When I pick her up she tells me how much fun she has and has told me several times that she loves her teacher and "she is so nice".</td>
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All of that is very common. We are used to children melting down, then being fine shortly after being in the classroom. Some people interpret that as just them seeking attention. I don't think that's the case usually. You can usually tell the difference between attention seeking and real temper tantrums. I really think it is a case where the child is extremely stressed about going to school, but once they are there, they realize it's a good place to be.<br><br>
This, again, will change once the consistency is there of a 5 day program. She will remember more frequently how it is a great school.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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I just don't know what to tell her in the car when she is crying and saying she doesn't want to go. I have told her, "But you *LOVE* school, don't you?" and she'll wail and say, "NOOOOO!". <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"></td>
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:) A key thing: Don't try to change the child's feelings. Try to recognize them. If she's saying, "I don't want to go to school" and you reply with, "but don't you like school?" she gets even more frustrated because she feels like she cannot get her feelings across. Don't worry - this is a natural thing for us to do as adults. The logic seems simple - we are trying to remind them of what they do like about it. For an adult, this often works. For a child, however, they are still struggling with the fact that they are not always understood by us and this is another barrier they come across.<br><br>
Although it's against our instincts, let your child talk about what they do not like.<br><br>
"I don't want to go to school."<br>
"Why not?"<br>
"I don't like it there."<br>
"What don't you like about it?"<br>
"It's boring."<br>
"What would you rather be doing?"<br>
"Going to the park."<br>
"What would you do in the park?"<br>
"Play on the swings, the slide.....(long list)"<br>
"Oh my goodness. Those sound like fun. We can't go now, but when do you think a good time to go would be? I can't wait!"<br><br>
What you have done is given your daughter the opportunity to:<br><br>
-- be heard about her feelings about the situation (I do not want to go to school)<br>
--explain what she really wants to do, instead of what she is feeling (go to the park)<br>
--be involved in the decision making process of when that would be a good time (thus giving her more power in the situation)<br><br>
This is just one way the conversation might go. It might lead more into a discussion of what she likes about school and would be excited about, but it must be done in the context of drawing out those three aspects I just listed.<br><br>
Is this going to work 100% of the time? No. Your daughter is still 3.5 and still going to be overly tired, try to adjust to an adult world and get frustrated over it, and often not know how to react to certain things and melt down.<br><br>
A great book that helps with this is this book here:<br><br><a href="http://astore.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fastore.amazon.com%2Fmonteblog-20%2Fdetail%2F0380811960%2F104-4389978-6432758" target="_blank">http://astore.amazon.com/monteblog-2...389978-6432758</a><br><br>
I love it. It is almost like a worksheet on how to talk to your children. I can't recommend any book on the subject that takes this book's place.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I tell her that I will come back for her. I even made the big mistake and said that I would be waiting for her outside of her school, but mommy is too big to stay in the classroom with her (now she thinks I just wait outside. I know..bad move mom). That actually seems to comfort her and make her smile.</td>
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Be careful with that. That may lead her to want to try to sneak out to see if you are there. If the teacher intervenes and either says or shows you are not out there, it becomes an issue of "Whom am I going to trust?" for the child.<br><br>
Remember the long term goals. Long term, we're not worried about the temper tantrum. It's nice to have it stop (especially while driving).<br><br>
My mom did something brilliant when we had a temper tantrum. She would just pull over and turn off the engine. When I asked what she was doing, she said it's not safe to drive with me screaming, so she will wait until I was done and, when I was, she would talk to me about what the problem was.<br><br>
If I tried screaming at her what my problem was, she would just say something like, "I'm sorry. You seem upset and I do not know what you need because you are yelling at me. It's ok to cry. When you feel you are ready to calm down and talk, we can keep driving and I will talk to you." (She said it very calmly, though I'm sure she was thinking, "Aaaaarrrrrggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!")<br><br>
Matt
 

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Well, in my experience, separation anxiety has less to do with the school and/or philosophy, and more to do with the actual kid involved. If in your heart you know that the school you picked is awesome, and that you as a parent are "merely" good enough, then there are a couple of options......<br>
#1. Would DD's school allow you to practice a more gradual separation, i.e, you staying IN the classroom for week 1 (or longer depending on the kid), the OUTSIDE the classroom for 2 or more weeks, then 2 or more weekks where you sat on a chair outside the cleassroom for 1/2 the classtime followed by 1/2 the classtime being out-and-about but available via phone, etc., etc., until DD was able to manage a full work-cycle independantly??<br>
There are PLENTY other strategies as well,but for sensitive kids, a slower separation with suppost often works wonders....lemme know.
 

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My ds still occasionally does this 2 years into school. Some weeks he rushes us out hte door because he has some important work he can't wait to get to. Other weeks he cries and drags himself to the car and clings. I know he is happy at school and he is in a great mood when I pick him up. Just remember, no matter how awesome the school, it is almost always better to be home. I say that as a firm supportor of "school" and as a teacher. I mean that to my son, home with mom is better than the park, school, the toy store wi<i>thout mom</i> etc. most of the time. If you are confident in the school and feel that she is happy at pick up, this will propably happen occasionally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you all for such awesome advice (Matt, you rock!! Thanks for those wonderful examples and I will definitely look into that book!)<br><br>
Her school had an encore parent meeting last night (they are starting a K program and some parents couldn't make the first one, so they did another last night). I got there a little early and got to hear more of the background on the teachers, the owner, and we got handouts with all the teachers names and credentials (something I actually suggested <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> ). My DD was beyond excited to see her teacher last night. I also thought that since we can only get her in 1 half day per week, the more exposure she has going to the school, the better. She (and her sisters) did ok until about 8pm when they started to get tired and my DD's teacher was absolutely i.n.c.r.e.d.i.b.l.e. with connecting with DD last night. I just adore this teacher and am so happy that my DD is in her class.<br><br>
DD not only gave her teacher a hug, but she laid her head on her shoulder and smiled!! That tells me that she is making a connection with this woman. Today she even said, "Mommy, I'm not going to cry at school this week." I told her that it was ok to be afraid and I was proud of her for being such a brave girl. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
We'll see what happens. Thanks again!
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
nfm
 

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It sounds like she is going to adjust just fine. I just wanted to add to the discussion something that I do with my son when he occasionally does not feel like going to school. I've promised myself I will always take seriously his concerns, but yet there are some times I know he is feeling tired/grumpy but will really enjoy school once he gets there. Here's how our conversation typically goes:<br>
DS: "I don't want to go to school!"<br>
Me: "oh, you don't feel like going to school today? Why not?"<br>
DS: "I'm tired" or "I don't know" or whatever else he says.<br>
Me: (after discussing his concerns, etc) "well, I hear what you are saying and understand that you don't feel like going to school right now... but you might feel differently when you get to school and see what the other kids are doing. Let's go to school and if after you get settled in there, you still don't want to be there, then you can come back home."<br><br>
I do mean this, that I'd be willing to go back home again after taking him there, but really I know that once he gets there most likely he will start having fun and want to stay. But it's important to me that he feels heard and respected. I had some issues with really dreading school when I was 12-14 years old and it would have meant a lot to me if my concerns had been taken seriously.<br><br>
HTH
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Heather, that's so true that they need to be taken seriously!! When I had her enrolled in a social/play based preschool just before she turned 3, some really bad stuff went down with how the asst. teacher handled her (she no longer works there, btw) and when she started telling me that the teacher "poked her long fingernail into my bellybutton" and some other horrific stories, that is all I needed to hear. That was on day 1 - there never was day 2. She was VERY specific about it and still, to this day, talks about how scary that woman was. However, my SIL's friend who also enrolled her DD there at the same time chose to keep her DD there (and she is still attending!). I know for a fact that her DD probably wouldn't say anything and even if she did her mom wouldn't listen to her. It's heartbreaking. My children will ALWAYS be heard and have a voice and I tell them that all the time. I tell them they can tell me when they are happy, sad, angry, scared, etc. and I will always listen to her. It cracks me up when my 3 y.o. says, "Mommy, I'm really mad at you right now" with her hands on her hips or "You really hurt my feelings". I'll always reply, "You can be mad at me and thank you for telling me." I'm so happy that she feels secure enough to tell me anything!<br><br>
So, good news today!! She went to school with not one single tear or "I don't want to go"'s!! Today is the first day that has happened (only her 4th time in class) and I'm praying that it's a new trend. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> She wanted to call her teacher in the car to let her know we were on the way (it wasn't my best fake convo, but it was early <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> ) and she ran right in, kissed me goodbye, and that was that.<br><br>
I'm so very proud of her (so I caved and gave her TWO Littlest Pet Shop pets today <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> ).
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>BCFD</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10767722"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
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So, good news today!! She went to school with not one single tear or "I don't want to go"'s!! Today is the first day that has happened (only her 4th time in class) and I'm praying that it's a new trend. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> She wanted to call her teacher in the car to let her know we were on the way (it wasn't my best fake convo, but it was early <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> ) and she ran right in, kissed me goodbye, and that was that.</div>
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<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/treehugger.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Treehugger">:<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/treehugger.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Treehugger">:<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/treehugger.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Treehugger">:<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/treehugger.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Treehugger">::t reehugger:<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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I had this experience the first time I put my daughter into pre-school it was not a montessori. It turned out there was a little boy that was bullying her and we ended up pulling her out. I would listen to your instinct. If she is crying everyday maybe she isn't quite ready.
 
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