19 answers

Kindergarten Having a Very Hard Time

Hi Mamas:
I really need some help/advice. My son is 5, he started full-day kinder on the 11th. He went to preschool last school season. He went 3hrs/4dys a week. He loved it. Since the 1st day of kinder he has told us how much he dislikes school, and he has said this everyday since. He states it's to long. We agree, but 2 1/2 hr of school isn't going to make going 1st grade any easier. He also states he gets scared, he's not making any friends. Then the big kicker was yesterday he told us the kids make fun of him because he crys for me at school. Today he refused to get on the bus with his sister, so he stayed home from school. We only talk about school in a positive manner, you'll have fun, make new friends & learn lots of cool stuff. We have even rewarded with toys everynight after the 1st 5 days of school. My son is very outgoing, smart, funny, etc.... But, he's just having such a hard time with adjusting to kinder. I know he's barely been in school a week, but it's been a LONG week!!!! If you have any storys, commets, suggestions--Please let me hear them. I would be so grateful.
Thanks, C.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you to all that responded. Your advice was great!!!! It really helped ME relax! He is still complaining about going to school, but he goes. Yesterday, when he came home he was in a much better mood! Oh, I left the teacher an voice message and I also sent a note in his backpack. She did respond. She stated she would keep a closer eye on him & help him make more friends. If he still has problems after 6wks or so I think you will try another approach. Maybe 1/2 day, new teacher, etc..... Thank you all so much! ---C.

Featured Answers

Are you able to volunteer in his classroom at all? My son had a hard time with similar issues. When I started volunteering in his classroom, it really helped him a lot and the other kids seem to have more respect for him. I was also able to observe what was going on firsthand.

2 moms found this helpful

All day school is a big transition. My daughter had a hard time with it. She was in 1/2 day kindergarten, so 1st grade was difficult because it was all-day. Making friends was difficult for them until 2nd grade. By then they recognized more kids and were more familiar with them. You may need to give him ideas on how to make friends when at recess, what to say. Tell him it's ok to walk up to a group of kids and play with them. Talk to the teacher to let her know what's going on. If kids are teasing him, the teacher need to know about that too. Let him know that other kids are in the same boat as him, but missing school is not an option. He can't make friends if he's not there. Maybe start a sticker chart. For everyday he doesn't cry at school, he gets a sticker.... Maybe pick him up from school if you can and see if other Kindergarten parents are there to meet to arrange a playdate. Good luck!

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More Answers

This is normal. Do not freak out.

First of all you need to speak with the teacher.. Email and ask to meet with her privately.

Also remember that children internalize a lot. Saying kids laugh at him, may not be exactly what is happening. Not making ANY friends..

I also doubt that. I think I would have calmed him down and then driven him to school if he could not get on the bus. Keeping him home send him a signal that he can cry and refuse the bus and you will cave in. You need to let him know he is really a strong child and can be a little nervous about school, but we do not skip school.

Explain to him even the teachers and other kids are a little nervous each year when school starts, but they still go to school and find friends.

Maybe you could organize a kindergarten play date one Saturday morning or afternoon. Invite all of the kinder kids and offer to have water and lemonade for a 2 hour playdate on the school playground or a park. This is a good way for parents to meet each other and the kids to also get to know each other and play.

Our daughters kinder teacher told us a great thing.
She said "you believe 50% of what your child tells you about school and I will believe 50% of what they tell me about what goes on at home".

Our daughter had a hard time the first 2 weeks in 1st grade. When I asked the teacher she said our daughter was doing great at school. That she did have some friends and seemed fine..

Our daughter was just shy and there were not any children she knew in that classroom. It ended up being a great year for her.

I am sending you strength.

3 moms found this helpful

:( I felt sad just reading this because I know how much this must hurt your heart for your little guy. I think most kids start a year like this, be it kindergarten or 1st grade. I am sure it has something to do with adjusting to the long day. Contact the teacher and share your concerns, I'm sure you won't be the only parent she hears from about the same thing. See if she can give you the names of any of the other shy boys in class and try to set up some play dates so your son can make a bond with a couple other kids. It will all work out. It is much harder on us then them.

3 moms found this helpful

Quick, quick, quick, get yourself a copy of by Faber and Mazlish's book, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk. The methods they teach help tremendously with exactly this kind of problem. They'll teach you how to empathize with your son, let him talk through his emotional reactions, and leave lots of space for him to work on his own solutions.

One idea: after listening to him and asking him questions, pick out one aspect of his troubles and brainstorm a list of ideas about how to handle them. Write it all down, even the silliest and most unlikely solutions. Get your son involved in some of the ideas. (Giggle over the goofiest ones – in my experience this helps "loosen up" the process.) Then go through your list and pick out one or two ideas that meet everybody's needs and seems most workable. Once your son "owns" his own capacity to cope, he's more likely to make any plan work.

There are many, many expert ideas in this book; this is only one possible approach. Something else to keep in mind is that an additional year for a five-year-old is another 20% of his entire life. A great deal of maturation will happen during that time, and what seems like too much for him now, may not be a big deal to him next year. So requiring him to go a full day now may have no logical connection to making first grade easier, especially when viewed from a child's perspective.

3 moms found this helpful

1) This is common for this age and just starting Kinder.
My daughter was similar...
2) Is this a public or private school? My daughter's school is public for example, and for the Kinder kids they do this: at the beginning of school, ALL the Teachers' are extra observant for any Kinder kid that is having transition problems. IF a child is... then, there is a Counselor that will work with the child. My daughter had this. All it is, is a 1/2 hour session with the Counselor, for 1 month... they do "play" type counseling, letting the kid vent, to say their feelings, to feel 'safe' that the Counselor or SOMEONE is there to help them and that the child can go to this Counselor ANY time, for times like this. AND the child then has a "Buddy" to go to, for any reason/help. This approach, per my daughter's school, helps IMMENSELY.

2) Do not admonish him for his feelings. It is normal. A kid, NEEDS a place to 'vent' about his day for good or bad. That will form a LIFE LONG communication/relationship with your child as he gets older. Invaluable.

3) And any time a child is teased... TELL THE TEACHER. This is unacceptable. My daughter's Teachers, all of them, ALWAYS talks to their kids about proper behavior and "bullying." AND they will not/should not single out your kid.

4) Next, what the heck, does his Teacher DO when your child is crying/crying for you???? Because, THIS will impact how the other kids act toward him. If he is being teased on the bus... I would tell the Teacher. This is bullying.... and some kids even commit suicide over "teasing" and bullying. It is very real... and deeply affects a child. You as a parent, need to advocate/help your child.... in these times. Always.

He is already having a very negative experience at Kinder. That is sad. You need to address it with the Teacher.. ..and see what her attitude on it is. If you feel it is not appropriate, then well, that is unfortunate...
Does your son like his Teacher?

Sure it is transition issues, which is common in kids starting Kinder. But also, really 'hear' his concerns and see if his Teacher is good or not? Helpful/nurturing or not? Not all Teachers are Mary Poppins.

Sometimes it is just a maturity thing too.... is he really ready for Kinder?
And yes, it is a long day. But that is how elementary school is.
It is a mental and emotional adjustment... thus, toys or rewards or punishments will not work.

all the best,

3 moms found this helpful

Is he a young five or an older five? Meaning emotionally, physically etc is he equal with the others? Did he just turn five or has he been five for awhile? What are his skills like? Does he recognize the alphabet, lower case and upper case out of order? Can he read some words or books? How high can he count?

It sounds like he is a young five.

Schools are very academic these days. Kindergarten is generally looking like first grade did many years ago.

There is also a six to eight week window of adjustment where children are exhausted and emotionally about school. He does sound extreme. If he is a young five both developmentally and by the calendar year, consider starting him again next year in K.

School is suppose to enjoyable. Children learn best when they are happy and feel comfortable.

Good luck...listen to your son and then decide what is best for him which of course will be completely different from what you needed to do with his sister.:)

2 moms found this helpful

Well, that was me. I did not want to go to Kindergarten, and I either missed or checked out early for almost 60 days of that year. However, I was extremely bright, and there was no reason to hold me back, and I am glad that they didn't! I ended up loving school by the end of the year and never stopped loving school!
The suggestion about classroom volunteering is a great idea! My daughters' school encourages parent involvement and parents eating lunch with their kids. If he knows you'll be coming at lunch time, then perhaps he will have less anxiety.
Also, set up a meeting with the teacher. Let her know what is going on and get her involved! I'm sure she has lots of experience with this.

2 moms found this helpful

I was not a Kindergarten fan either, and my mom worked at the school where I attended. I didn't see her much because she worked in the math lab with older kids.
I missed her and my dad terribly.
She taped a picture of the two of them inside my lunch box. That helped a bunch.
She also talked to the teacher and the teacher's aide, who would talk me through a "bad spell" and remind me that I was going to see my mom in just a few hours and wouldn't I like to play in the sand and water center?

I ended up LOVING school so much that I became a teacher and am now going to school to become a principal.

2 moms found this helpful

I'd befriend his teachers and see whats happening from their perspective. sometimes kids tend to exaggerate their emotions and how people are treating them. as parents we get into our mama bear roles when we hear our kids feeling sad and we want to solve their problems....ask the teachers for their suggestions on the matter, and i definitely wouldn't make it a habit of staying home from school because he doesn't want to go...
we all want our kids to be happy and its hard to watch them go through tough situations-yet it will help them grow and be able to deal with life as the same situation will most likely face them again in the future...

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