Crying at Kindergarten

Updated on August 29, 2011
J.B. asks from Tinley Park, IL
14 answers

My son just started Kindergarten. He has had 3 days so far and everyday he is excited and happy to go, but when we approach the doors, he begins to latch onto me and cry to the point where a teacher needs to grab him off me and take him inside. Then i know he instantly stops once he's in there. Then when i pick him up after a full day, he can't stop talking about how much he loves it and can't wait to go back. I know this is proba ly normal but he is seriously the only one. I just need some advice or a peptalk. He never have done this before, even with Preschool, ever! I'm frustrated.

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answers from Chicago on

I also went thru this with my dd. Yes, The Kissing Hand is a great book. I would definitely start there. And we all know they are fine after they get in class...but that doesnt make the tears at "good bye" go away. Here is what my dd's teacher and I came up with: Go to the office supply store with him and have him pick out a pkg of post-it notes. Then give the teacher the post-its so she can give you an update every day of his crying. Smiley faces for no-crying days, frowning faces for crying days. Within a week my daughter stopped crying at school. This year she started 1st grade, and MY DAUGHTER pulled out the post-its and explained it to her teacher! 5 days later, no more tears! They want to please us and their teachers, yet the adjustment is hard. Just stay calm and try the post-its! Good Luck!

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answers from New York on

My youngest did this when she first went into kindergarten so I gave her this little love bunny figurine my mom had given me years ago. She would keep it in her pocket & when she got scared she would just rub it. If she didn't have pockets she kept it in her backpack. It worked and as a matter a fact she begins 2nd grade this year & gave it to me the other day b/c she doesn't think she needs it anymore. Maybe if you give him something of yours to hold onto or put something in his backpack he'll be okay. Best of luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

This is exactly what my daughter did, broke my heart! She just needed to work through this transition. I can tell you what WON'T help:

-don't tell him he just has to do it or just has to be 'a big boy'
-don't focus on anything negative, how much he will miss you or anything hard about school
-don't talk about consequences for crying

what we did with my daughter is that I lined up with her, held her hand in the line, and handed her off to the teacher. this was pre-planned with the teacher, who let my DD be her 'helper'. this way I could tell her in advance what exactly would happen and then it happened, no surprises. gave her a big kiss, told her I loved her and couldn't wait to hear about her fun day.

my advice is to ask the teacher what you ALL can do to help your son out. this way the teacher knows you are open to suggestions and are hoping for her help as well. if her suggestion is mean or just not ok with you, say you aren't comfortable with that and does she have any other suggestions.

it's also helpful to give your son something to focus besides just the moment of leaving you. maybe this is part of what you could discuss with the teacher. ask her what they will do on a particular day (in advance) and let him know at breakfast "today Mrs. X told me you get to color the letter A, what color do you think you want to use? will you do a super job and show me when I pick you up?" now he has a project and something to think of other than leaving you.

Any good teacher is used to this problem and should be able to work with you. and you said he's the only one, so she should have the time to help you out (rather than if she was dealing with 10 kids who are having a hard time). we lucked out with a teacher who was patient and flexible, hopefully you do, too.

BTW, my daughter is now 11 and fine! but I still remember how hard that time was, and even a few moms I've known since then remember her sad little tears. you know he'll get past it, he just needs a little understanding. so do you!! :-)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

time and patience. I say give it 2 weeks.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

family conference at home. Do not discuss whether or not he likes school, the teacher, nor the other kids. Simply address the fact that as a "big boy" he has to learn to walk in....say "good bye" to you...& begin his day in the classroom. It's up to him to do this.

Try a positive reward system. Buy a set of small plastic animals. When you approach the classroom & when he says "good bye" as a big boy, then you hand him the animal. It is his job to place the animal in a container which the teacher keeps. At the end of the week, the container is sent home with your son. If all 5 animals are in the container, then he receives a reward from you. (a sticker system will also work in this case, but the plastic animal is something tangible he can be responsible for.)

This method was recommended by our school counselor for one of my daycare families. It truly works, & the trick is to leave asap! A quick hand-off to the teacher...& you're out the door without looking back.

Two more thoughts: don't get him over-excited prior to reaching the school. Make it matter-of-fact....some kids get overwhelmed when they have to listen to a pep rally on the way to school. & for my older son, we could not do any sugary cereal/breakfast bar.....he'd get wound up & then crashed by the time we hit the classroom. :)



answers from Joplin on

my 6 year old is doing this ,this year and like yours once he is in there he is fine and comes out all happy at the end of the day.....exact same thing. I just walk him straight in and say I love you and I will see you soon. He will get used to it ,I would just give it time.....that's the attitude I am taking with mine the teachers see this all the time and understand completely,no worries.



answers from Sacramento on

I went through this with my daughter... it's just the transition most likely and he'll be ok. It's good that the teacher is willing to help you at the door. I found when I went inside the classroom it was a million times worse. Just keep reassuring him set up a routine where you give him A hug and A kiss and wish him a happy day. If you show concern or that you're feeling bad for him or if you always give him "just one more hug", they see it and it makes it worse.
Good luck~ it's hard, isn't it?


answers from Los Angeles on

My sister did this with kindergarten for a week. We felt so bad for her but on the 5th or 6th day she made her first friend and loved school after that.

Hang in there, I know it's hard, but like you said, 'he can't stop talking about how much he loves it and can't wait to go back.' The teachers expect this and know how to deal with the situation.



answers from Chicago on

My oldest would cry in first grade, she loved preschool and kindergarten but those were 1/2 day. Switching to all day was a big adjustment for her. The teacher assured me it was just that as well, she was happy after a few minutes. I taped a family picture in her folder to peek at, I also sent little easy to read notes in her lunchbox for her to find. I think it is a good thing he loves to talk about his day, give him some time, be patient, he will adjust. :)
Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

My daughter is doing the same thing :( It's hard and the first day I cried in the car all the way to work. She has gotten better over the week. I truly believe it's just change and it will come and go. At night I make sure my daughter knows how much I love her! Best wishes :)



answers from Appleton on

This happened several times when I was in 1st grade. Kids would cling to their Moms and not want to go in the door. Sister ___ assured mom that everything was okay.

The reality of what was going on was Sister ___ was hitting kids with a closed fist, denying kids the right to go to the bathroom to the point at least one kid wet themselves every day. Yes she was mean and it was 1961 so no one believed the kids until they started wetting the bed at night too. The the princpal started to listen in through the intercom and was shocked to discover she was beating the children and just horribly mean. They got rid of her at the end of the school year. But we had to endure her for the entire school year.

Moral **** If your gut tells you something is not right here--listen to your gut****. Take some time off and go into the school and sit and listen outside the classroom door find out if that teacher is really as nice as she seems to be.



answers from Chicago on

My son's friend did this for half of the school year. I'd give it a week or two but really, don't let it go any longer because it sets up negative routine. Besides that, the teacher shouldn't have to physically manipulate the children any more than necessary...because she and your son risk getting hurt that way. Plus you don't want the teacher to be the "one that tears me away from mommy." try reading the Kissing Hand" and then planting a kiss in his palm everyday before going in. Or give him something small of yours to keep during the day. Or you can wear matching silly bands. It won't be forever.... Soon he will be running through those doors with barely a wave goodbye!



answers from Chicago on

Love Gerri S's idea. My son has also started full day kindergarten and although he doesn't cry when I have to leave, he has had tears during the day and complains that he "needs a break". On the other hand, he will all of the sudden start talking enthusiastically about something they did at school that day or that they are going to be doing the next day. I just think some take longer to get used to new routines and as long as you keep being supportive of him and going to school he will begin to like it. If he is telling you that he loves it when you pick him up, that's a good sign.



answers from Oklahoma City on

He does stop crying, about the time you are out of sight. His teacher would let you know if it continued throughout the day. Obviously he is just having some anxiety issues about a new situation. It sounds like you are doing the right thing. Hanging on and trying to comfort him will only make it worse, just continue to let his teacher peel him off then you leave.

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