19 answers

2 Year Old Having Difficulty with Transitions

HI!

My 2 and a half year old son is in preschool 2 days a week for 2 hours each day. I enrolled him to get him around kids his age (he is a little shy) and I thought he might enjoy it. However, it has been a tough transition. He is just now starting to get over separating from me when I drop him off.

The issue now is that his teachers say he is having tantrums when they move from one activity to another. That he does not want to stop what he is currently engaged in to try something else. Once they get him re-engaged, he is fine again. The problem is, they transition quite frequently, which would mean he is having these tantrums and crying multiple times over the 2 hours.

It also appears that my son is the only child in the class having any difficulty. I seam to be the only parent getting negative feedback. I am now wondering if I made a mistake and enrolled him too early. Perhaps he is just not ready for this and I should pull him out. Any advise??? I would really appreciate it. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I want to thank everyone for such thoughtful and helpful advise! You all know how hard it is to make these decisions on behalf of our kids.
I think I have decided that this program may be too regimented for my little guy. They transition about every 20 minutes. I think I will enroll him in some playgroups and try a Montessori next year. Thanks again for all your advise. It meant a lot to me :)

Featured Answers

I also wouldn't pull him out. My kids were in at that age and I also own a preschool (my kids were 4 and 6 at the time)and it is hard for kids to adjust. We always tell parents to try and hang on until about 6-8 weeks in. The ones who do are usually settled and done with any sort of crying at that point.
That said, I have 19 month olds who come in happy, transition with no problems and go home happy. I also have a 4 yr old who still cries several times a day. Personality does play an important role.
I tell all my parents that no amount of tuition in the world is worth making their child miserable and if it is a situation that I don't think will change I will let them know and have them restart later.
I just had an instance in my 2 yr old class where I begged one mom to hang in there because I knew it was just separation anxiety and the other where after a couple of weeks I told them it was time to take her out. She just wasn't settling and cried (sometimes hysterically) the whole time she was there.
The girl who stayed has tantrums and a really difficult time with transition. Since we have an open concept school we eased her into activities and didn't push when it wasn't important. After a few weeks of this she is transitioning wonderfully and I was as proud of her as her mom was the first day she did a full day with no crying and transitioned to each activity easily.
We have a transition period every 1/2 hr for this age. Plenty of time to settle in and have fun and then we spend about 5 mins transitioning...pushing in chairs, lining up etc.
Good luck with it. Don't feel it is a negative feedback. You need to be aware if he is having difficulty transitioning or adjusting or having a tantrum. I'd be more worried if he was and no one was telling you!

Dont know if its to young but my dau was 3 1/2 and went 4 days a week and cried everyday for the next 2 yrs.
Good luck

More Answers

Hi L.,
First of all, I doubt you're the only parent getting any sort of negative feedback, and if the teachers are making you feel that way, then I would probably switch schools! 2 year olds are mysterious little creatures that are known specifically for their tantrums. If the teachers seem shocked by his behavior, then they obviously have no experience in being around toddlers at all.

That being said, I would leave him in! He'll get the hang of it. If you pull him out, he won't have a chance at learning the routine. Give him some more time. School is a big deal at such a young age, he just needs a little patience and understanding. My son who is the same age, also just started a 2's program and trust me when I say that your son is not the only one in the world having a little difficulty adjusting!

Go with what you're comfortable with but I say give it more time and don't listen to "negative" feedback. Nothing should be considered "negative" at that age. I'm sure your little one will be just fine!

Good luck!!!
L.

1 mom found this helpful

sounds like he's too young. are there any moms groups or clubs that you can join so that your son can have regular playdates? My son has playdates 3 times a week, one time a week at our house and the other two days at our clubhouse for 2 hours. I personally wouldnt put my son into preschool at this age, he's the same age as your son. Not unless I had to because of work or whatnot..try it again in a year is my recomendation! good luck mamma

First of all, I doubt that you are the only parent getting negative feedback. Two year olds are not exactly known for their cooperative nature. If your goal was to have him socialize with other children then perhaps you might consider a different forum such as a Mommy and me type class. Transitions are very difficult for kids this age and as a former preschool teacher, I guess I'm wondering why he's beeing asked to transition so much in a two hour class. I've personally never been a fan of preschool for children under the age of three and even then I can say that there are kids who do not adjust well until they are four. Good luck, go with your gut, and remember that things can change dramatically over the course of a few months. Preschool at two and a half is not essential for learning to interact with other children and in my opinion is inappropriate for many.

I also wouldn't pull him out. My kids were in at that age and I also own a preschool (my kids were 4 and 6 at the time)and it is hard for kids to adjust. We always tell parents to try and hang on until about 6-8 weeks in. The ones who do are usually settled and done with any sort of crying at that point.
That said, I have 19 month olds who come in happy, transition with no problems and go home happy. I also have a 4 yr old who still cries several times a day. Personality does play an important role.
I tell all my parents that no amount of tuition in the world is worth making their child miserable and if it is a situation that I don't think will change I will let them know and have them restart later.
I just had an instance in my 2 yr old class where I begged one mom to hang in there because I knew it was just separation anxiety and the other where after a couple of weeks I told them it was time to take her out. She just wasn't settling and cried (sometimes hysterically) the whole time she was there.
The girl who stayed has tantrums and a really difficult time with transition. Since we have an open concept school we eased her into activities and didn't push when it wasn't important. After a few weeks of this she is transitioning wonderfully and I was as proud of her as her mom was the first day she did a full day with no crying and transitioned to each activity easily.
We have a transition period every 1/2 hr for this age. Plenty of time to settle in and have fun and then we spend about 5 mins transitioning...pushing in chairs, lining up etc.
Good luck with it. Don't feel it is a negative feedback. You need to be aware if he is having difficulty transitioning or adjusting or having a tantrum. I'd be more worried if he was and no one was telling you!

Hi L.
I do think that he is too young if he is having such a difficult time. The 2's are hard enough as it is, and if he's not doing well it wouldn't hurt to pull him out and let him try it again in another year.

My older son is also shy--he started preschool at 3 1/2; it was good for him then--past the 2 year old tantrums and all that. It was still hard for him socially but overall good for him. He is now 5 1/2 and doing much better socially. I never really pushed him, as I feel that kids will come around when they are ready--pushing them just makes the behavior continue.

Do you find that you have problems with him when YOU do transitions with him too? OR is this just at school. I would ask the teacher if she gives a heads up before the transition is happenening? If not, tell her 5 minutes before the next activity to announce that in 5 minutes we're cleaning up. Then again in 2 minutes. Then when it happens he might not be as upset. It will take some time, but if he is given notice that a change is about to happen, it can give him some time to prepare. He will learn. If you have problems with transitions with him I would do this at home as well. That way he has the same continuity. Make sure you follow through - even with the tantrums - at home. If you tell him in 5 minutes the TV is going off and then again in 2 minutes - when you turn it off and he goes crazy - don't give in to him. The tantrums should get less and less once he learns that his tantrums aren't working.

Dont know if its to young but my dau was 3 1/2 and went 4 days a week and cried everyday for the next 2 yrs.
Good luck

I haven't yet read your other responses,but I think taking him out completely will not resolve the problem long term. I waited until my son as 3.75 because we didn't need him to go. But just after the arrival of #2, we decided it would be best for everyone. We entered him around thanksgiving last year (3 days a week 8:30-2:30) and we struggled until about April getting him there. We did not experience issues once he was there.

Some kids just don't like change. Are they bouncing from one activity to another quickly since it is a short period of time? Can they give him a warning a minute or two before moving on to the next thing? If she is an experienced teacher she should be able to cope pretty well and adjust slightly to his needs and give you ways of helping him too. Does he do this at home?

Maybe explore another center in your area and let them know what your issue is and see how they would handle it.

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