Teacher Said Daughter Has High Anxiety

Updated on September 16, 2011
E.S. asks from Conroe, TX
11 answers

Hi Moms,

My 4 year old daughter just started a preschool program this year. She only goes for 3 hours a day but it has been so traumatic for her. Every morning she says she doesn't want to go and they have to pull her off of me at school. She has never gone to school but I wanted her to go because I thought that all day kinder next year would be less scary if she had gone some this year. When I pick her up she is fine and is always excited to tell me what she did that day. Anyway, the teacher told me yesterday that she has a lot of anxiety at school and is always worried about what they will do next and when I will pick her up. She has been in school for 4 weeks and I thought she would be adjusted by now. Is this normal? I asked the teacher if she thought I should pull her out and she said no, that she will adjust. I am also pregnant and have noticed she has been fearful of things that have never bothered her before so I don't know if this is the pregnancy or what? Should I talk to her doc about this anxiety? Thanks

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answers from St. Louis on

wait & see....she's 4, you're pregnant, & it's a whole new world for her.

This year is very important because if she is an anxious child....then she will need this year at preschool to prepare her for KG. Please don't pull her out! A little bit of patience will go a long way in helping her!

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answers from Cleveland on

If the teacher is willing to work with you, please make or draw a picture schedule of the days activities. Getting dressed, eating breakfast, driving to school, hugging mommy and waving good bye, circle time, work centers, snack, playground time, time to go home. talk to her about it over and over. be consisitent and be up beat..

I love the book, The Kissing Hand can't remember the author and the book Owl Babies by Martin waddell Both great for separation anxiety.

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answers from Columbus on

Work with her and the teachers. If this is the first time she has every been in a situation like this, it could be very terrifying and disconcerting for her.

Ask the teacher to post a picture of your family in a place that is easy for her see. Ask the teacher to help her write a letter for you if she's sad/angry/worried about you, or draw a picture of her family. Let her take a lovely/favorite toy with her that she can keep in her cubby and "visit" during the day. Ask the teacher if calling during the time would be helpful.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

as others have said, don't pull her out. it'll only be harder next year if you do. there's a lot of things changing for her and it's just a scary time for her. shower her with lots of love and comfort and she should adjust in time. no harm in brining it up to your pediatrician as well. best of luck!

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answers from San Diego on

Not saying there wouldn't be a benefit from an evaluation for anxiety but this sounds very normal. My daughter always wanted to know what was going to happen. Thankfully she was reading so with the posted schedule and routine, she could predict what was going to happen.

Also, the fears emerge at four - developmentally normal. What's going to happen..., monsters, dark, on and on. That shows she has an active imagination and aware of separating from you.

Too, never underestimate (you called it) how perceptive those little beings are. With your being pregnant, she senses even more change.

I think she just craves normalcy, predictability, consistency, in school and out. I do question the teacher's use of the word anxiety when it could be adjustment, concerns, etc.

I would also be careful of your use of the word "traumatic" for her. Is it truly traumatic? Or is it still new with a lot of other newness that she's picking up on?


answers from Los Angeles on

I really think you're doing the right thing by preparing her for kindergarten w/ preschool first. If she's going to all-day kinder, it's going to be a nightmare if you don't prepare her. Our daughter was enrolled in preschool at age 3 and the transition was difficult for about 3 months. My husband had the dreaded drop-off task and I got the easy task of picking up. She clung and cried at drop-off and by pick-up she was having a great time. I think what you've relayed sounds totally normal; of course she doesn't want to be away from mom :) Heck, our daughter is in first grade and if given the chance to go to school or be with me all day, guess what she'd pick? Hang in there, keep monitoring it with the teacher, but I think it will all iron out. It's just a matter of time. Good luck!


answers from New York on

If she is happy and excited when you pick her up then it doesnt sound traumatic and it doesnt sound like anxiety. It sounds like NORMAL first time separating from mommy. Lots of kids like to know what comes next. If you feel the teacher doesnt do a good job handling her adjustment period, then find a better preschool, but you are right you need to prepare her to start Kindergarten next yr. I hope things get better. They will probably get temporarily worse when the baby comes, but I second the recommendation of the Kissing Hand! Its just what she needs. Wemberly Worried might be another helpful book to read to her.



answers from Victoria on

this is a great time to teach her how to handle situations that are out of her control. examples when she is worried about when you are going to get her a great responce would be when she gets here. i also found that our very extrovert son was terrified of the church nursery when he was very young. it was not like him at all as he never met a stranger. it was a church we were visiting. we switch churches and had no problems. perhaps if it continues you can find a moms day out program to help you and your little girl adjust. good luck.



answers from Kansas City on

I would talk to the doctor, yes. I probably would not pull her out of school either. It could have to do with the pregnancy combined with just her normal personality. Is she resistent to change in general? My daughter really, really was, but is getting better b/c I have changed my approach with her. She likes to know what's coming and what she'll be in for. If the school seems to be equipped in dealing with it, it sounds they are probably just trying to make you aware. Maybe you could go over the general schedule with her teacher and then maybe each night before school you could go over it with her. Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

I would consult with her pediatrician, just to get their take on things. But my son (also 4) has had bouts of this on and off in preschool. One thing that seems to help a lot is to tuck a little comfort item in his pocket. Throughout the day, if he has any moments of feeling scared or worried or misses mommy & daddy, he can look at whatever he brought that day and it reminds him of home. Sometimes it's a little toy, sometimes it might be something of mine, like a bracelet or even my library card. :) Hang in there...hope this won't continue to be hard for her and will prepare her for next year.



answers from New York on

I think I would adopt a "wait and see" approach. Four weeks is really not a long time, especially if this is your daughter's first preschool experience. It's a huge change for her plus I'm sure the pregnancy plays into her feelings as well.

My son started nursery school last year and his anxiety peaked at around 6 weeks. Unfortunately, the teacher was not as understanding as your daughter's teacher seems to be and it was a real hardship for another 6 weeks or so thereafter. However, by early Spring he was doing just fine and had made some very good friends. Even the teacher had to admit he was doing great.

Despite all the problems and stress it caused me, sending him to a program last year has made a world of difference in starting him at Pre-K this year. He still has a couple issues, but they are soooooo minor compared to last year. My advice would be to hang in there and see how things continue to play out.

Also, no harm in talking to the doc - if anything, it will set YOUR mind at ease, I think!

Best of luck!

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