21 answers

My Daughter Still Hates Preschool.

Ok Mommies...I need some advice.
My husband and I have tried everything, and now, we don't know what to do. We have a 3 1/2 year old who started Preschool in Jan. It was rough at first, but then progressively got better. Long weekends, and holidays always make going back to school worse.

In addition... I am working now. I work part time,and travel on some weekends. I love my career. My daughter does have to go pre-school.
We have tried positive reinforcement. Choosing to go to school now or in 2 minutes. Rewarding her with “stars” for going to school. Saying that one of her friends was going to be there. We have even tried saying that her job is to go to school. We have tried so many things, I am out of ideas!
Every morning it’s the same thing. “ I don’t want to go to school” “I don’t like my friends” and my favorite “ I’m not learning anything, why do I have to go?” Seriously, is she 3 ½ going on 13?

I am so tired of fighting with her in the mornings. It sounds bad, but now we just ignore her and get her ready for school. Drop offs are horrible. She cries, she clings on to me for dear life on some days, on other days, she goes without a problem. She does the same if my husband drops her off, but he will stay with her for a longer time, or until he feels she is comfortable. I tend to drop her off and leave before the tears start for both of us.
We love the preschool she’s in, and she always has fun when she’s there. How do I encourage her to go to school so it’s not as traumatic in the mornings? Any ideas??
She goes 2 ½ days and 1 full day a week.

I would REALLY appreciate any advice. Thank you so much!!

In addition.. I did go back to work last year. I love my career. Not going to Preschool really isn't an option at this time.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Time to find a new pre-school or just stop taking her altogether. Its only preschool, why start off a lifetime of learning on the wrong foot? If she hates it, why force it when its not necessary whatsoever? If she is going for a full day, that may be a lot for her. At 3 most kids go 2 half days a week. Sometimes three. A full day program may be overwhelming and she has no other way of communicating that to you.

There so many more fun things to fight over, the color of her socks for example...Maybe keep it simple for a little longer. She is only 3.

Does she have to go this year? (Are you working?) Maybe you could wait until she is older. There is no need to rush things. Maybe you could try teaching her some things at home. There are a lot of good educational games out there. I was a first grade teacher for 8 years before having kids, and personally I don't feel that there is a need to push kids before they are ready. They are quick learners and they will be in school for a long time...

Just something to think about.

More Answers

The post that preschool is a trend is obsurd, sorry. But preschool is a huge foundation for them. Teaching at home gives them no sense of learning to deal with peers, listening to a teacher and participating in a classroom setting. Preschool gives them this! Kids need to gain some independence and preschool is such a positive. 3 1/2 is the perfect age to start that!!! These moms that coddle their children and not allow them to grow aren't doing their kids any favors!!
Studies prove, kids do so much better in regular school if they have attended preschool. I see it with the boys I watch here. One never went to preschool and even being taught at home was way behind the others. So that statement is ridiculous. Preschool isn't a trend but it is a blessing it is state supported and there are so many out there to choose from! My daughter is two levels ahead in her reading due to preschool!
As far as the anxiety, it is normal.
All I can say is most kids go through this after being used to being home. Stand tough, though compassionate. You can sympathize with her and say "I know you don't want to go, but daddy and I think it is important and know you will have a good time" and keep going.

If she sees she can cry and you cave and give up then she learns nothing! Ask teachers on here and see how common it is. Now is a great time that teaches them that we may not always like doing something but if it is important we just have to do it.

The key thing you said in this post is she always has fun, so the dramatics are for the initial drop off. Continue to take her, let her realize that she has to accept it. If you don't what is she going to do in another year or so when she heads to Kindergarten? I mean kids may not like things, life is like that, however if she is really enjoying herself, you feel she is getting a good solid start to learning then I see no reason to just not continue.

Don't fight with her, be empathetic to her feelings but also remind her sometimes we have do to things we don't always want to. When she says "why do I have to go" answer with "I love you enough to want you to learn and start getting really smart"..and leave it at that.
My son did this last year he was 3 1/2 then too. The night before every night "do I have school tomorrow, I don't want to go"..and he would cry every other time I dropped him off. I just kept him going. He had a blast when he was there and I am a big believer preschool is really a positive for younger kids. It was hard to walk away when he was crying but I stuck to it, half way through the year he stopped. The worst thing you or your husband can do is linger! Just kiss and hug and walk off. Give her a sticker and kiss it to remind her of you during the day (that worked wonders with my son). But do not hang on to her and let her cry with you.
This year he started Pre K, he was so excited, loves going and not one issue. I think around 3 1/2 it is just a combination of being used to being home with mom all day and power strugggle.
Make sure she is happy there after you leave, that her fits aren't ongoing way after you have left and not disrupting anyone else. If not keep her going and be kind but firm about it has to be done.

1 mom found this helpful

Time to find a new pre-school or just stop taking her altogether. Its only preschool, why start off a lifetime of learning on the wrong foot? If she hates it, why force it when its not necessary whatsoever? If she is going for a full day, that may be a lot for her. At 3 most kids go 2 half days a week. Sometimes three. A full day program may be overwhelming and she has no other way of communicating that to you.

There so many more fun things to fight over, the color of her socks for example...Maybe keep it simple for a little longer. She is only 3.

Stop forcing her to go to pre-school! In my personal opinion, kids don't NEED pre-school. It just seems to me like the "in" thing to do. Some people will tell you that she needs the social stimulation and can only get that from pre-school. It's funny, but people who put their kids in daycare say the same thing. Some moms also use pre-school as a break for themselves. You can always find ways to take a break besides putting your daughter somewhere she doesn't want to be. You can give her the social stimulation at a park on a nice day. There is nothing she can learn at 3 in a "pre-school" that she can't learn from you, her mommy. Neither of my kids were ever in pre-school, and there are no signs of them suffering because of it. My son, now 6 and in first grade, knew his ABC's by 3 because I took the time to teach him. He could count to 20 by age 4, then basically taught himself to count to 60 (with a little help). He is very social and is in the top reading group in his class. My daughter, 4, can sing her ABC's, can count to 20 and is always trying to count to 100. She can recognize letters and can write her name. She too is very social, and loves to play with new kids. Not to boast, but it's all because I took the time to teach them what they need to know before Kindergarten. Pre-school really isn't necessary for her, and she shouldn't be forced at 3 to go. All you are doing is stressing her out in the morning, and she probably isn't going to have a good attitude about going to Kindergarten if you keep up the charade. By the way, did you go to pre-school? Probably not, and I'm sure you turned out smart and socialized.

I agree with the previous response. Sounds like she isn't ready. She is pretty young. What can a teacher with a group of kids teach her that you can't at this age? If she was excited and wanting to go, I would say go for it.

Check out this article. Kids in Finland don't start school until they are 7!


I would wait. My oldest wasn't ready for kindergarten and instead of feeling bad, I just didn't send him.

Now, my youngest was in preschool/daycare for a while. We had to put him there out of necessity. I wasn't a stay at home mom then. We needed both kids there. My oldest hated it.

And my youngest was actually potty trained by them. I helped but I know it was them encouraging him to go that did it. If they had been a full-fledge daycare, I wouldn't have minded but every thing was learning, and they even had homework. The provider only took my kids because she had known me from the time my oldest was born.

D., You didn't mention why she has to go in the first place. Do you work? I had this problem with my first daughter, and learned my lesson, and didn't send my next two daughters. I taught them to read at home and hosted a playgroup. I'm so very glad I didn't send them to pre-school. I met lots of families who don't do pre-school.

Pre-school is just a trend -- there's no particular benefit to the child unless the kid's parents are both stupid and neglectful. Honestly, how many parents are like that?!

talk to her teacher (without and then with your daughter) and the director of the school. She may be "saving the drama for her mama" and be fine once you are out of site or she may have some legitimate issues... your daughter isn't the first kid they've dealt with who needs time to adjust... her teacher can be a great resource, use them!

and if they are not helpful then you know you have your daughter in the wrong place... everyone should want your daughter to be happy.

regardless, I don't think the answer is taking her out of pre-school... she's 31/2, that is a fine age to start. What i might suggest is if your work is flexible... trying a more regular schedule... like a 1/2 day every day. the way you have it set up now everyday is different (e.g. no pre-school/some pre-school/all day pre-school). it might be easier for her if the days were similar, not so over-whelming.

lastly, also remember to be patient, but firm. Lingering at the door doesn't do anyone any favors... if the drama is just for your benefit, and you (and your husband) just drop her off with a breezy smile, kiss & hug and goodbye, she'll figure it out sooner or later that the theatrics aren't getting her anywhere.

Is there a particular reason she has to be there? Did you go back to work or do you stay at home when she is at school? Personally, I am in agreement with Kate and the others that said pre-school is overrated and trendy. I never went to pre-school and graduated in the top ten of my class, so I have a hard time believing the thought process that she will only excel if she goes to pre-school, where she very clearly does not want to be. Our daughter is three, is socialized just fine, and can already sing her ABC's, count to 10, and recognize some small words, and we are working on more skills every day. And I didn't have to send her to pre-school for her to learn any of it. How do you know she is having fun while she is there? Have you spoken to her teacher and confirmed that and that there aren't any problems with the other children that your daughter is experiencing to make her so put off by the whole thing? It just seems strange that all these months later you are still having issues with dropping her off. If she started in January I would think that if she were comfortable and settled there it shouldn't be the fight that it is to drop her off every single day. My daughter was in daycare when I worked fulltime outside the home. When I lost my job last year, we continued to send her for a little while because she seemed to enjoy it and would wait by the door for her teacher to pick her up in the mornings and would get upset sometimes when I came to take her home because she was having so much fun. But when the daycare was moved and my daughter started to scream and cry every time I took her over there, that was the cue for me to pull her out. Yes, she was getting socialization with other kids, and yes, she was learning things because they had a pre-school based program, but it wasn't anything that she couldn't learn at home with me and she can socialize at the park or even the local McDonalds! If you absolutely feel you have to send her for whatever reason, then maybe you should invest some time in searching out a new program for her. Maybe the one she is in is just a bad fit for her at this point. Good luck in whatever you decide to do.

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