My daughter started K4 this past September and she still gets quite upset when I drop her off in the morning. She cries and clings to me begging me to stay. At home she begs to be home schooled and is upset about having school the next day. Once there, she seems to settle down and interact just fine. It is the mornings before school, the dropping off and at night that I am tortured by her pleas and crying. She says her tummy hurts her at school.
I wish I knew a way to ease her anxiety or maybe she is just too young for such a long day away from me ( 7:30am to 2:15pm ). Am I starting her too soon? She is very attached to me and still sleeps in the same bed as my husband and I. She is an only child.I am at my wits end and really considering home schooling! Help!!
Answer: Dear Barbara:
Well the good news is she loves her parents. The down side is that it will be an adjustment for her to be away from you. So let's deal with how to make the adjustment easier on her.
First of all children at this age do not understand time. For her 7:30 to 2:15 is a long time to go without you and she does not understand what 6 or 7 hours means. She only understands her routine. How is the routine at school? Do they have a consistent routine? Is the morning and evening drop off and pick up routine consistent? Consistency in her daily routine is what she needs to keep her anxiety at a minimum.
Next, how about giving her something to remember you by? Do you have a little picture you can put in her pocket? A piece of cloth which has your scent on it? Something to soothe her when she misses you? Even when she is doing well at school she will miss you for a while.
I am not one of those professionals who thinks children who easily adjust to being away from their parents is a good sign. I think it is sad how many children are fine without their parents at an early age and quite quickly. It's a sign we are not bonded or connected in our society.
She misses you and is grieving your absence. Find some books about these sad feelings, find some books which help her identify her feelings and voice the words to match her feelings and I am sure this time will pass quickly.
M Kay Keller