My Daughter Still Hates Preschool.

Updated on October 22, 2008
D.A. asks from Parker, CO
21 answers

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?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Denver on

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.



answers from Washington DC on

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



answers from Denver on

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


answers from Denver on

Maybe she just isn't ready. I personally think most preschools are glorified daycare. We waited until kindergarten with my son and he loves school. We organized play dates and he did activities to get him "socialized". He is ahead of many other kids who went to preschool. I will wait with my other 2 kids also.



answers from Provo on

I know you've stated that not going to preschool isn't really an option, but you really should consider it. My husband and I are both teachers and have done lots of research in education and putting your kids in school so early really doesn't give them much of an edge and can actually be detrimental to their education. The social development is very important at that age as well as gross and fine motor skills, so perhaps look into a program that is less like school and more like fun.



answers from Denver on

Your little girl sounds like a smart girl. Check with the teacher and see if she is being challange. If she is fine once she gets to school I wouldnt worry much. It sounds like she is putting on a show for you and testing limits. My daughter was similar she loved going to preschool and then halfway through started making a fuss about it but once she got in class she was fine. Part of her issue was she knew at school life wasn't focused just on her she had to share and at home she had no competition and less structured time and it looks like you only have one kido like me. I cant tell you how many times I heard about how stuff at school can be harder because they are only kidos. ( Drives me nuts really)

Keep to what you are doing your doing great. Hopefully it will get better when she realizes that you wont cave. Kids have to learn that they have to do things they dont like and that is a good lesson at any age. Preschool is so good for them so they can be social things like sharing and solving problems on their own. Its also good for them to be away from mom and dad because it fosters independence and confidence( From taking care of young kids I have seen that the ones that are in daycare at young ages do better vrs the ones that never leave moms side). You didnt say but if your not working its also good for mom to get some freedom. Good luck



answers from Denver on


Have you talked to the teachers at the pre-school about how your daughter is doing once she's there? That might be a good place to start if you haven't already. You might also want to tell the teachers about this issue; they might be able to offer some pearls of wisdom.

In reading the responses previous to this one, I agree with taking her out and trying again next year. Maybe she's not ready, maybe it's not the right pre-school for her. It wouldn't hurt to see what other programs are in your area. Maybe see if they'll let you try it out for a day at no charge to see how your daughter fits in.

Hope this helps! Good Luck!



answers from Salt Lake City on

The good news is that she still has another year before you have to really worry about this behavior for kindegarten. She may not be ready. But with a statement like "I'm not learning anything, why do I have to go?" it sounds like she's pretty bright! She may just be manipulating. I agree with others who say to stop coddling at the drop off. And if she's truly fine and doing well while she's there, then she's probably not really suffering there. But talk to the teacher. Maybe there is a child in the class she doesn't get along with or is mean to her. There could really be a legitimate reason for her anxiety. Or it could just be that she prefers your company or being at home. My friend's son hated going to preschool because he had it in his mind that he was missing out on seriously fun stuff at home while he was at school. He'd always come back asking what Mommy and Daddy (who worked from home) got to do while he was there. Anyway... She's got another year for preschool. Maybe she's just not ready for it this year. Socially, emotionally, whatever. Also, that's a lot of time spent at school for her age in my opinion. At 3 1/2, my daughter would not have been ready to be gone from home for an entire school day at a time. Even now (at 4 1/2) she only goes two days a week for three hours at a time. Maybe she just doesn't like being gone so much. Good luck.



answers from Denver on

Check out a new preschool. Cottonwood Parent Participation Preschool in Centennial on Arapahoe and Colorado (a one-room school that is housed in the Salvation Army Church although it is not associated with the church) is play-based and is absolutely amazing. My 2nd child is in his 2nd year there. My kids LOVE their preschool. My first grader still loves to go there and visit. Is her current preschool kind of curriculum based? It may be that she needs more freedom and to develop a love for learning in a more free-to-choose type of environment like Cottonwood Preschool. you have to check it out - visit with your daughter ASAP!!



answers from Denver on

Hi D. -

I'm wondering if her "excuses" are more than that - she could very well be telling you exactly what she feels about school.

What I hear is "I'm lonely" and "I'm bored"

If you really like the pre-school, it may be time for a meeting with the teacher to talk about her reluctance to come to school. It sounds like your little girl is smart and articulate - perhaps moreso than the other kids at school.

It might take some extra effort on the teachers part to provide some extra activities for her but my guess is that it would be worth it. Her teacher may also be able to identify the kids that she plays with the best and most often. That way you could perhaps set up some play dates.

You might also consider organizing a group playdate during those long-weekends and holidays. I did those all the time and it was pretty easy. I just made up a bunch of half page flyers and the teacher sent the copies home in the kids papers. I just gave a time and a meeting place and whoever could come was welcome. We did swim dates at the local pool, park dates, McDonalds dates - that kind of thing. It really helped to associate fun activities with school and helped to bring the kids closer outside of the classroom.

I hope that helps you!



answers from Denver on

I know how stressfull this can be, we hate to see our kids upset and all that crying can give you a big headache. Since you said she likes it once she is there than I would stick with it, pre-school is a valuable experience both socailly and emotionally. You could try some of the love and logic techniques like giving choices or taking her in her pj's. And let me be blunt, stop coddling her at the drop off, she has both of your number's and this will only get worse. Most pre-school teachers are loving( they aren't doing it for the money!!) and trained to deal with this which is normal! You are doing a great job mom!



answers from Denver on

Have you considered that she may not be ready? I am not a firm beleiver in preschool as a lot of kids just are not ready to be seperated from mom and dad at such a young age. I know that this day and age a lot of families have two parents working and most do it out of necessity but at what cost to our young kids? Just some food for thought. I hope that things get better for your daughter. Hang in there. :)



answers from Denver on

This is really normal behaviour for a 3 year old. They still have alot of seperation anxiety and also are great thinkers. My little one did the cling to my leg dont' let me go for a while, then decided that it wasn't so bad. Everything takes time just be patient and loving and reassure her that you always come back. Talk with her teachers and see how they can help you help her. This isn't anything new for them and they have great advice. The other thing is that she really probably doesn't like the school and might need to be in a different preschool something that she feels happier in and more secure in herself there. Take a look at the Denver Cooperative preschool. It has alot of parent involvement and the teachers are AMAZING!!!



answers from Colorado Springs on

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.



answers from Denver on

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.



answers from Denver on

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?!



answers from Great Falls on

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.



answers from Salt Lake City on

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!



answers from Boise on

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.



answers from Denver on

Is it possible for you to volunteer in the classroom for one or even two days a week for a few weeks? Maybe she needs to know it's a safe place to be and sees you there "helping" out so she can get comfortable with her new space. I find that getting involved as much as I can in my girl's schools helps. They see that I'm comfortable so they in turn are. Maybe try a few hours of volunteer time and see if that works. Reading to the kids, etc. The teacher can tell you what you can help with.



answers from Salt Lake City on

Hi D.,

You are doing the right things. You need to be strong and firm in your reasons for the pre-school. I'm not sure I'd do the choice about "lets wait 2 minutes". You are giving your power away and she is getting confused. Because if mommy will give here, why not more.

My daughter and I have "friend time" and "mommie time". Fridays are usually hard for her. And I just remind her that tomorrow is a "mommie day". We have an on going conversation about friend days and mommie days. She is 3 1/2 yrs old and has been going to daycare since she was 8 weeks. So even though she knows the routine, she still needs the dialog with me.

And usually if she's crying when I leave I usually here from whomever I've left her in the care of, i.e. g'ma, Aunty Brenda, or her teacher. that as soon as mommie is out of ear shot, she's just fine.

You are giving your daughter an opportunity to socialize, learn some basics to get her ready for kindergarden and you shouldn't be feeling guilty. When children have other children doing the same thing they pay attention better and you don't have that at home. Find out what is being thought each week and review with her. You'll find out just how much she's picking up.

Kindest Regards,

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches