Kindergartener Doesnt Want to Go to School ! Help

Updated on October 02, 2013
E.M. asks from Washington, ME
12 answers

Hi mamas, my son is 6.5, and he attends a private montessori school. We started him there at 5 last year for kindergarten, and they opted to keep him back because of some learning disabilities. He did reasonably well last year, we had our struggles, but he liked school and wanted to go. This year has been very rough so far. From day one he is crying during drop off, crying during the day at circle time, saying no to his teacher, and just not acting like himself. He has the same teacher as last year, and many of the same friends in his class. I have tried, as well as his teachers to talk with him about his feelings, but he has a hard time putting his emotions into words, and will usually just sit there and cry. He has also been very clingy at home, he doesnt want to sleep in his own bed, and needs lots of attention. He is also questioning alot about what will happen the next day. I think he has an anxiety disorder, he throws up sometimes when he gets excited or sometimes on the way to school. When we pick him up from school, he appears to be having fun, and usually it is hard to wrangle him from the playground. So far, the weeks have been alternating, 2 rough weeks, 1 good week, now beginning this week off rough too. When he wakes up he says he doesnt want to go to school, and when I ask him why, he just says " because I will miss you". Just a little background info, myself and his father are seperated, but have been since he was two. He sees his dad on almost a daily basis, and our home life is pretty regular. I just dont know what to do, this is killing me having to drag him to school and leave him there miserable and crying, knowing that the teachers are also going to have a rough day with him. I have thought of taking him out and finding a homeschool group for him, or getting a private teacher to give him lessons. Would this be reinforcing negative behavior? Advice? I am dreading having to have meetings with the teacher on a daily basis, we dont know why he is having such a hard time.

Edit: I have taken him to a pediatric neuro psychologist and she diagnosed him with ADHD, he also has symptoms of a sensory processing disorder. He attends a private OT practice once a week and we have seen improvement in his fine and gross motor. He also sees a tutor once a week after school.


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answers from Columbia on

Have you considered that the montessori model might not be the best for him? That perhaps he needs a more regimented, consistent system?

Some kids thrive in montessori, and some need a more traditional model. Does he get upset if things don't happen exactly on schedule? If so, perhaps a more traditional model would be better. Consider a school change.

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answers from Detroit on

I am so glad I read this. We've been there with not wanting to go to kindergarten, and I always thought if we'd done Montessori the kids would always want to go. But actually...

I think the Montessori is not a good fit for your son. Red flags are he's worried about the next day and what will happen. He needs structure, and a good amount of it. I would move him to the public school, which will be much better able to handle him, especially with the special needs.
You might suddenly have a little boy who wants to go to school, or at least does not cry and dread it. (He was held back and seems to feel bored doing the same thing again). The new school will be a new change of pace for both of you. Go for it!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

I'm wondering if in your effort to help him you might accidentally be feeding into it. I know I'm often guilty of that.

When my 7 year old gets this way (and he is definitely more emotional than my 4 year old), the mother in me wants to say, "It's ok, you're going to be fine," and give him extra hugs and kisses. But I've found that when I do that, he will often be emotional again the next day because he liked the extra attention.

What usually does work is to be energetic and happy and say, "Hey, you are going to have an awesome day! I'm so excited for you! Here's your backpack (with a quick hug & kiss). Now go to it." Or something similar.

It feels completely natural to me to be reassuring. It really feels like the best thing to do. But, it often just feeds in to the anxiety.

Distraction and positive energy/excitement is usually much more effective.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I know that this is hard, but sometimes kids need to struggle in order to grow. Most kids will at different times in their lives go through phases where they don't want to go to school. I do not think that you would be doing your son any favors if you pulled him from school every time he struggles. The beginning of the school year can be a rough transition for kids for many years and if your son is particularly immature he may just need some more time.

I also agree that sometimes we as parents tend to fan those emotional flames - I as well have been guilty of that. This is a hard age for kids and parents alike and sometimes we have to both demand a little more independence and trust that our kids will be just fine without us for a few hours.

If you have genuine concern that your son has a learning disorder or anxiety issues you MUST take him to a pediatric psychologist/psychiatrist and get him properly diagnosed and treated. I would never take a teacher's word for this and if he is truly suffering it is not adequate to just stand by and hope it will fix itself. You son may benefit from OT or another sort of therapy to both help with his learning disabilities and his anxiety.

Last but not least do not dread the meeting with the teacher but embrace them. The teacher should be supportive and suggest some strategies that you can collaborate on to make this easier for your son.

Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New London on

I am certified in teaching---Your child Needs intervention to get off to a good start in school. I have a child with the same ...It is NOT easy ! I would do OT another day a week. I have sensory...I have to
Follow a sensory diet every day of my life !

A child with ADHD and sensory needs intervention!!! I am so glad u got him tested. Now you need to get teachers with proper training in place.

Read the books The Out of Sync Child and The Spirited Child.

Make sure your child gets enough sleep, avoid food chemicals, and the teacher knows all about ADHD. Public school is probably best.

Your child is probably very sensitive and has to have a 504 plan or an IEP.
Did the dr you worked with give you advice in the report?

Maybe take him out of Montessori and have him work with educators who are trained. Please do not wait it out. I have been down this path and you are your child's advocate. My child did OT, was tutored with an educator who KNEW what sensory was and my child was allowed to chew gum in the class for the sensory. My child also did vision therapy----when sight was 20/20. Your child will need assistance ---especially K and first grade!

Based on the diagnosis this is NOT your child being stubborn or in a phase.

ADHD and sensory overlap. I can tell you that I have sensory and their are days when my central nervous system and my brain are jammed. I do My own OT every day. It was so much harder to get through the days when I was a kid because OT was not suggested for me.

Only one of my kids has sensory and I did all that I could....Let me know if you have any more questions.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Could he be bored and embarrassed he was held back in kindergarten?

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answers from Norfolk on

The Montessori school our son went to for preschool through kindergarten was wonderful!
Many kids at one point or another start to worry what they are missing at home while they are at school.
They almost feel guilty for having fun at school so they act up in the morning as a show of loyalty to Mom ('I still need you Mommy!')
(Most kids are done with their morning cry in 10 to 15 minutes and then they are ready for the rest of the day.
The teachers know it and the kids are not crying there all day long.)
Then at the end of the day you get a meltdown because it's time to leave and they want to stay and play.
It's frustrating when you get crying for both coming AND going.
It's all about how they handle transitions.
Just hang in there.
It can take some kids several months to settle in.
By the time they are into it for 6 to 8 weeks the new routine has become comfortable.
When he's in a good mood when you pick him up, talk to him about remembering how he feels right now and could he please save a little of the good feeling for the morning.
He will out grow this sooner or later.

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answers from Portland on

I suggest that you discuss the possibility of an anxiety disorder with his pediatrician who can refer him to a child psychologist or psychiatrist. Perhaps the one he's seen would be able to help you. I think I'd call his office first.



answers from Washington DC on

Maybe you, teacher and your son could have a little informal meeting where he gets to talk and spill his guts and realize that you all just want him to be happy in school. The surprise is the change between this a last year. I would have said maybe he is getting teased for being held back, but not if he has a bunch of friends from last year in his class.

I was a little like this too, so I feel for you both. As for what my mom did with me, we just kept getting up and doing it again the next day and the next until it got better. And it did get better, but I always had those feelings of not wanting to leave mom even when it got better.

As far as homeschool, I probably would have loved this as an option, but I don't know that it would have been the best thing for me. I wonder if sitting in the back of class and observing once in a while might help?



answers from Boston on

This may sound silly - and I know he has other issues he's dealing with, but is he getting enough sleep? My daughter just started school (also from a montessori) and she is absolutely exhausted from the change in routine (earlier start and having to concentrate all day). Her behavior is deteriorating as well, but all of my friends are having similar experiences. She loves school, but even tells me some mornings she doesn't want to go. However, definitely a good, long night's sleep helps, so we've pushed her bed time back by half an hour (and may push it more). It's something simple to try in any event and could help. Also - our school told us to be prepared for how tired the kids would be - they were like "they're going to be exhausted until Halloween, at LEAST!" - which was good to hear. Good luck with everything!



answers from Tampa on

He could be bored. Kids tend to act out when they are bored. You said he repeated the grade, so the work is the same and there's no changes.

Someone else mentioned structure. It's possible there's not enough. He may need a set routine. I am reading about the Montessori education now so I understand what may go on there.

If it doesn't get any better, you may consider a different school.



answers from Philadelphia on

both my boys have ADD plus my younger son also have some learning disablities. Maybe he is starting to notice difference in his learning ability compared to his peers. Just continue to be loving and encouraging. Invite friends over your house to give him confidence. Find a sport that he enjoys. My younger son has been playing baseball since kindergarten. It has reall given him confindence. Also does he receive special help at school.
Coud you hide a tape recorder in his backpack. I am wondering why his sudden negative change. Is the teacher being too impatient with him. Is she infering comments about him.
My younger son is very senitive and if my husband is helping him with his homework many times he ends up crying. Yes my husband has to be more sentive but I think my son sometimes is ultra senitive about certain words. good luck.

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