Daughter Suddenly Refuse to Go to Preschool

Updated on October 08, 2009
S.C. asks from Phoenix, AZ
11 answers


My daughter has been in her new pre-school for 5 weeks and she had no problems adjusting. She would come home and tell me that she had lots of fun, meet lots of friends, like her school, and sing. We never had a problem dropping her off in her old and new pre-school until last Friday when she was sent home due to sickness. And ever since then, We have a hard time dropping her off, she would cried and tell me that she doesn't like her school and she would get sick. This is the first that she ever cried when we drop her off to school. I spoke to the teacher and she thinks it is a reverse effect...some kids cried during the 1st day but my daughter didn't so its might be happening now. I really don't think that's the problem with my daughter but I really couldn't figure it out yet. My thoughts is that its might be associated with her being sick at school, she might think that if she goes to school she would get sick again. My daughter also tells me that she doesn't want to play with her friends any more. The teacher tells me that she is fine after we left. When I go and pick her up, she seems happy and tells me that she had fun in school. What could it be that is making her not wanting to go to school. Any thoughts, opinions and advices is greatly appreciated.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for the advice and opionin. It has been a little easier to drop her off school, no more crying. It seems like certain days she is very happy to go to school but sometimes she would refuse to go at all. She's been very attached to me the past few weeks, constantly telling me that she wants me. I told her that mommy has to work and can't be with her all the time and will pick her up later. One mom suggested that I let her take a family picture and placed it in her locker, it was great, made her feel comfortable.

Thanks again

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answers from San Francisco on

She'd rather be home - it's normal enough at her age. But since she has to go to preschool, you'll just have to drop her off and let her cry.

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answers from Redding on

Dear S.,
I think this is actually pretty typical, really. Some kids find pre-school and kindergarten fun and exciting until the new wears off and the realization that they will be going every day sets in.
I don't think your daughter truly believes that school will make her sick but she knows if she's sick, she gets to be at home.
Just don't buy into it and don't linger any longer than absolutely necessary when you drop her off because that just drags it out.
I raised two kids by myself. There is always something they don't like or don't want to do and I just say, "There's no rule that says you have to LIKE vacuuming, or WANT to clean your room, I just said you have to do it."
Your daughter doesn't have to like getting up and going to school in the morning, but she has to go anyway. And, it sounds like after you leave and she gets into her little routine at school, she's fine. I wouldn't worry so much about it.

Best wishes.



answers from San Francisco on

I went through this with the child I watch. Every day on the way to school he would say "I don't like school", "I don't want to go to school". When we got there, there was lots of drama, tears, clingy to me. But he would be fine a few minutes after I left. I think when your daughter came home sick that day, she realized that meant she spent time with you.

It took a while, but eventually my child was okay at drop off time. In fact, sometimes I wouldn't even get my hug/kiss goodbye because he was in such a hurry to play with his friends. Hang in there, it should get better.



answers from San Francisco on

I believe you are way over-thinking this.
She already gave you her story: I don't like the school and if I go to school I will get sick.
Well, both parts of her story are false, as you know.
The first I'm sure she knows is false---she MIGHT believe the second part about being sick because the very young don't understand logic/causation (in which case, you just casually reassure her that school can't make her sick, and then go on with your life).
BUT MOST LIKELY she knows ALL of it is false, and this is her way of getting extra attention (in the form of worry,sympathy, and conversations about it).
You stated that you and your husband both work full time---well, that means "little princess" doesn't have so time with her parents...
Kids do this sort of thing when they want more attention. It is normal. = )
She'll drop it when she sees that you are not worried, and not reacting to her false drama.



answers from San Francisco on

I would go and stay for the day and see for myself. There's nothing like seeing for yourself.



answers from Sacramento on

Hi S.

Sounds like she's just doing what is getting a reaction. When she DID get sick, you came and got her from school, right? Made a big deal about poor baby? Gave her extra attention?

Things that get a big reaction get repeated, that's just the way kids work. Don't worry about it. Keep it light when you drop her off at school. Try not to make a big deal about "oh baby, it's only for a couple of hours. Why don't you like the school?" cause that only encourages her to amp up the not liking school thing.

If she's fine at school after you leave, then she's fine.

Hope this helps,



answers from San Francisco on

A couple of my kids did this - were fine the first few weeks, and then all of a sudden decided they didn't want to go anymore. They got over it. They may dramatize drop off time, but they are fine once you leave. Just give her a kiss, tell her you'll be back after school, and leave. She'll be fine!



answers from Modesto on

She's getting tired, and wishing she could just stay home like she use too :O)

Come up with a reward her for staying that you will give at the end of the week.

For my son, it was McDonald's Ice Cream Cone. He only went to preschool 3 days, including lunch, so that was a perfect "bribe"..... If he ever began to show signs of weakness, I would just remind him that he is being very big, and Mommy will take him to McDonald's in 2 days (or however many)....That worked for my son AND me.

If your daughter is REALLY bad, then you may need to start with everyday rewards for a couple of weeks, then taper down to the end of the week reward.....

All kids do this, well, ALOT of kids act this way. it's their first steps AWAY from their homes, which is the most secure place on earth!

This can very well happen to her in Kindergarten, too.

You'll figure out how to help her adjust and become secure. It's about really knowing your daughter and picking something she can relate to ;O)

~N. :O)



answers from Sacramento on

It could be that your daughter is telling you that she would rather be home with you as others have posted...I would think that is the case for most young children.
But, Crystal's comments reminded me of when our daughter, not pre-school age at the time, but in elementary school around 9. The school nurse would call and I'd need to go and pick her up due to a stomach ache. Once home she got better. Then the harassing phone calls started, I realized what was happening, having refused the caller to speak to my daughter and called vile things by an young child. She was being sexually harassed at school by a classmate. The teacher was COMPLETELY unaware when we brought it to her attention. We found after much went on including our daughter becoming not her sweet self anymore, our efforts to stop this on our own, the school was not helpful and in denial, we brought our daughter home. In a couple of weeks our daughter became our sweet child again, not defensive and angry, or sick. We had an amazing experience homeschooling.
Good luck with your daughter. As a M. you got to trust your gut, ask more questions. Hopefully, it is only that she is adjusting to life away from home in a new environment and just needs more M. time once home.



answers from San Francisco on

the director of the preschool where both of my daughters have gone (with 25 years experiance of running an amazing school) always tells parents that at some point your child will cry when you leave. It might not happen the first few days, or even weeks, but with in the first few months your child will go through some sort of seperation sadness. That doesn't mean that she will not have a wonderful day after you leave, nor that it is the wrong school for her, or that something has happened at the school...its just your daughter dealing with the fact that you are not there --- a lesson that she will need to have throughout her life.

I wish you and your daughter all the best...


answers from Sacramento on

I think you and the teacher have good thoughts as to what is going on with your daughter. It also could be that your daughter is still not feeling up to her old self.

You may also want to find out if any of the children are picking on your daughter, which may cause some kids to not want to go to school anymore.

Another thing, which from what I have read doesn't seem to be the case, is that there may be another reason caused by the school that is causing your daughter to not want to be there. Like maybe the teacher or another teacher has been mean to your daughter. Again from what you have written I don't see this as being the case. Trust your mommy instinct. If something seems off you need to find out why.

After my oldest has been sick and home from school he doesn't want to go back, because after all, hanging with mom or dad at home and watching tv and playing are way more fun than school.

Next question: 2Yr Old Daughter Daycare Blues.