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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A question for all you mamas who are sending kids off to preschool for the first time, and those who have BTDT - how are you/did you handle the initial separation issues? Did you stay w/your child for an extended period of time or did you leave, even if child was crying?<br><br>
Ds is 3.9 years old. I found a wonderful co-op preschool, which I think will be very good for him. Love the teacher, philosophies, etc. Ds is excited to go, asks about it daily. For a lot of reasons, I think this will definately be good for him. However, each time when he asks about it, he also asks if I will stay w/him. The first day is an open house, so I will be staying. But I am not sure what to do after that.<br><br>
Ds has never been left at daycare, sitters, etc. before. He is very sensitive and I am quite certain that there is going to be a major meltdown when it is time for me to leave.<br><br>
Everyone I speak to, parents & teachers alike (and dh!), recommend that I leave him there the first day, even if he is crying. This just doesn't feel right to me, but I want to do what is best.<br><br>
So, what did you all do & how did it turn out? I'd love to hear from people who did both & how you think it went. Thank you!
 

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My BTDT experience: Both of my kids seemed to be happier being with me all the time until about age 3 -- and then they really liked to be at preschool.<br><br>
I think that toddlers do better with their moms but preschoolers need time with other kids. In fact we found that whenever geographics and/or economics prevented us from having a 3 or 4 year old in a part-time preschool setting they did not do well, they got bored and frustrated. And the 3yo and 4yo child would be a lot less upset at being left than the 2yo or 1yo had been -- and if they were upset it would evaporate the second I was out the door.
 

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I am wondering if it would make sense to talk to the teachers about your concern. They will let you know what they are comfortable with. Your child's comment that "you will be there won't you" sounds to me more like a child who can't imagine what preschool would be like without you--in other words, he's just not used to it, and literally can't picture it. He may not be anxious at all.<br><br>
I have found that my children always wanted to go to preschool, and felt like such "big kids" that separation was not a problem. The toys were so engaging that a teacher could always get them involved in something very exciting before I left even on a 'slow to warm up' morning. Good teachers are usually very skilled at helping a child transition.<br><br>
There have been times at day care when I have had to leave my children crying. They have never been hysterical, just weepy. I had a lot of confidence in my provider, who is very warm and nurturing. Sometimes it is o.k. for them to cry (for all of us to cry....) and realize they can get themselves "together" again. It is a growing experience. Babies don't understand their feelings at all, and so don't have the ability to 'cry it out' and then feel better. But preschoolers do, and with support, they can express their feelings and then move on.<br><br>
I'm rambling......
 

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My dd started preschool for the first time this week. She's 4.5 and has never been in any kind of group situation without me - and is also rather sensitive. She has been taken care of by close family members and lately, close friends for short periods of time.<br><br>
I was afraid she would be the kid who cried all day and refused to leave the car. I agonized over whether this was the right thing to do. How would I handle it? Would I force her to stay or give in and take her home?<br><br>
I'll mention that she is going to a Montessori school because they have a system in place that really has made all this easier (home visit from teacher, visit class with parent before school starts, first week of school is only new kids in class for an hour each day, parents drop child off at front door with assistant teacher, who escorts child to class). They told us that it's easier for the child to leave the parent than vice versa and in our case it has been true. While this was the hardest part for me to swallow, dropping my kid off even on the first day, dd has been really proud of herself.<br><br>
The other thing that we did was to be very positive about what it would be like, especially with our own thoughts and comments. I chose not to suggest to her that she might be nervous or scared until she mentioned that herself, then told her it was normal and that I understood. I also reminded her of all the times that she had done things without us, when she said she wanted us to stay with her.<br><br>
So this has become all about me, but perhaps there is a way to help your son see himself as brave and independent by reminding him of things he's already done (even if you haven't left him with anyone yet). And perhaps being honest ... "Yes, I'll be there on the first day so we can find things together (bathroom, cubby, etc.). Then on Monday you'll get to be there to play and sing and do art while I go do (fill in activity that he hates to do - in our case it's going to Home Depot) and then I'll be there to pick you up and you can tell me all the things you did." Or something like that.<br><br>
With dd it helped for us to remain calm, which for me was really hard, because I just KNEW they would have to pry her out of the car. But no, she was very nervous and a bit scared, but we remained positive and she was so proud to be able to get out of the car and go to school. Every now and then she says, "I can't believe I went to school!"<br><br>
And as for leaving him when he's crying, maybe arrange with the teacher that if he's still inconsolable after whatever amount of time you feel comfortable with, you can return. Or have him walk you to the outside door with his teacher and leave you there to return to his class. I don't know ... that 's a tough one. I second the idea of talking with the teacher - most likely she's has lots of experience with this and can offer some suggestions (hopefully without rambling on like I have)<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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I guess I"d like to offer a slightly different opinion. I have been struggling with a similar situation with my not quite 3 year old son. I have found a very small Waldorf based program, and am trying my son with it. The teacher is very patient, and feels strongly that we should give young children a chance to adjust and feel safe. She has encouraged me to come and stay, helping with work around the garden or school house, or to come during non school hours every week to help him feel good there.<br><br>
I suppose that I am struggling with this a bit because of others expectations. Around me I see mothers take their kids to nursery school and the kids cry a bit the first few times then are ok. [My child did the reverse, was ok at first then had a serious meltdown half an hour later.]<br><br>
Yesterday I spoke with my sister, who is raising three sons, now in middle and high school. She offered up that she spent many many hours sitting in the nursery school, doing her paper work.[she would sit on the side or in a different room], giving each of her children over the years, the time they needed to feel safe and secure knowing she was close-by. She said over time, they each were ready and ok with her not being there, but it took different amounts of time with each.<br><br>
Her sons are now independent "well-adjusted", bright, outgoing, family loving kids.<br><br>
So, I guess where I"m headed with this is that perhaps we need to listen to our hearts and to our kids. Some children have different needs than others. If you are feeling strongly that your son needs more transition time, insist on it.<br><br>
Hope all goes well!
 

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I have just been through this! My barely 3 DD started at a co-op preschool last week. She goes T/Th for a few hours in the AM. She was VERY excited but also asked me to stay. So I did. With the full support of the staff and some very sweet "I've been there too" smiles from the other moms. It is nice being a co-op. The presence of parents is a constant, not an intrusion. So I hung out all morning last T and Th... I made a point to drift as far from her as I could... not where she could see me on the play yard, etc....<br><br>
I knew she was doing pretty well when on Thurs I was getting her out of the car and noticed a little scrape, a raspberry on her leg. I asked her and she said she fell in the sand and it hurt for a second but Auntie Barb looked at it for her and told her she would be fine. I was less than 50 feet from her the whole time we were outside and I didn't hear a peep from her. She didn't ask for me. I worked one of my co-op days Tues this wek and was very busy... which I had explained to her before. She did fine. So yesterday I dropped her off. And came straight home and waited for the school to call and tell me she was beyond consolation and I needed to go back. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes">: <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/ROTFLMAO.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rotflmao"> Of course she did great!<br><br>
Long post, huh? I'm just saying, it's YOUR child. Go with YOUR comfort level and HIS!!!! They have seen it all before and if staying bothers the teachers... well, that says something too, I think.
 

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My experience:<br><br>
Dd's preschool has a very relaxed separation policy, and a rule that they will not allow a parent to leave a crying child. However, to ease the child into separating, they ask that the parent who remains in the room be very "boring" - read a newspaper, don't play with the child, say things such as, "I don't know where the tissues are, but I bet the teacher can show you," in order to encourage the child to begin to trust the teachers. It works very well!<br><br>
I would just talk to the teachers and make it clear that you are not comfortable leaving your child while he is crying. If they cannot accomodate you in any way, maybe this is not the right school for your family.<br><br>
Good luck...he may do better than you think! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you all for your very supportive responses. It has been helpful hearing of your experiences. After much thought, and after speaking w/the teacher, dh & I decided that dh would bring ds to preschool in the morning, stay w/him while he settled in, then leave. I would pick him up at the end of the class. Ds separates a little easier from dh than me. Also, I am 7 months pg & didn't want my emotions/hormones to influence ds. We have done this for two days now & it has worked out pretty well. Ds did cry in the beginning when dh left, but the teacher was able to get him involved in a project right away & there were no more meltdowns throughout the mornings. He did frequently ask the teacher when I was coming back. She would review the class schedule w/him, saying they would have snack, story time, etc. then I would be there. That seemed to comfort him. So all in all it has gone much better that I anticipated. We still have a way to go before it is smooth sailing, but we are on the path.<br><br>
How are everyon's children settling in to the start of preschool? After 2 days, ds was emotional drained. He had some meltdowns & even a potty accident today (very unlike him.) I feel so badly that this is stressful for him, but on the other hand I do think it will be very good for him once he feels more comfortble.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><i>Originally posted by HRM</i><br>
How are everyon's children settling in to the start of preschool? After 2 days, <b><span style="text-decoration:underline;">dh</span> was emotional drained. He had some meltdowns & even a potty accident today (very unlike him.)</b> I feel so badly that this is stressful for him, but on the other hand I do think it will be very good for him once he feels more comfortble.</td>
</tr></table></div>
:LOL<br><br>
Does he keep a spare pair of pants in his briefcase? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"><br><br>
Actually is interesting you asked that. Bonnie had a potty accident at school on Tues and another one here yesterday afternoon. I think part of it is getting very focused on activities and losing track til it is too late. She is always on her way or actually in the bathroom and just can't <i>quite</i> make it. But I think she is adjusting well and I may have her in more days a week soon. It is really working well.<br><br>
I am dog tired! It is hard getting us going and out the door in the early AM. And my volunteer day on Tues was exhausting! I expect all of that will get better in time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ooops! Could that be a freudian slip? Although I am the one having meltdowns. (No accidents however.)
 

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HRM, starting preschool is a hard but usually wonderful thing. Heres our story:<br><br>
My 2.5 y/o daughter started in a small co op preschool when her twin sisters were 5 months old (can you guess WHO needed preschool, her or me>? : )<br><br>
The teacher was warm and caring but made transitions VERY hard. "encouraged " me to stay wayyy too long, and for us, was hard. My DD, clung to me the whole time. Her teacher practically called me every time she had a hangnail.<br><br>
Fast forward 4 months, my twins are gettring bigger, needing much more than I can give them. DD's preschool only offers part time and its just not enough. We find another program, so very different from the co op, full time, lots more kids but still in a nice homey environment and a 2 minute transition! The teacher swoops up DD in her arms, and tells her of the day's activities adn thats it! Shes happier, more stimulated, takes naps all on her own and activly volunteers more info on her day at school than she did at the first place.<br><br>
Sorry for going on and on.. in a nutshell, I reccomend a short transition. All teachers Ive talked to , and veteran parents, say that they stop being upset as soon as mom leaves.<br><br>
Good luck with everything and remember, school needs to work with the WHOLE family. (this includes your fab pregnant self)<br><br>
xxoo<br><br>
SG
 

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HRM I am glad he is doing better. My Ds is almost 4 too and was fine the first day, but after cried when I left and a little during the day. He has been in the school 2 weks and is not crying and doing much better. However, I am always wondering if it is right. I am a single mama and have no alternative-I have to work. Well, on Friday when I went to get him he was with a teacher and not in circle. I guess he started to cry and had to be removes. When I ask why he says, "Cause I love you mama!" Heartache! At this school they ask you to leave and not really linger. I try to get him engaged in an activity before I leave and this seems to help.<br><br>
He always talks about school and his friends, but tells me I cried a little bit for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Isleta, I can appreciate the heartache. Ds will tell me also that sometimes he is "a little afraid" and "cried a little." It is such an emotional time, for them & us. Being a single mom must make it even tougher. Thank you for your support. And good luck to you too.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"> Thanks HRM! Today he was better. The teacher said he only cried after nap. He tells me he has fun at school, but, then says he plays by himself<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> Yes, it is a hard one! The thing about being a single mama is that no one is at home to hear me vent oe to take turns dropping him off<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue"> No, really it is the support and knowing that you are doing your best. Thanks for your kind words. Hope it is getting better for Ds and you also. I am so glad that our kids can tell us their emotions and when they are afraid. At least we can try and ease this and know what's going on!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hi all. Just wanted to give you the latest, if anyone is still following. SUCCESS!! Ds *loves* preschool now. He did progressively better w/the separation & adjustment each day. On his fifth morning (he goes 2x/week) he told us he was "all done crying" and has since been thrilled to go. I am so happy & relieved. It seems that we definately did the right thing not staying w/him. I think if I had stayed, I might **** be there now, & ds still anxious. Of course the preschool & teacher are wonderful, which makes all the difference in the world. Thank you all for your stories, advice & support. You helped me through a very stressful time.
 
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