My kindergartner hates school (already)

Posted by David Beard, Globe Staff  September 5, 2008 06:59 AM

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The following is an excerpt of this week's readers Q&A with Child Caring writer Barbara Meltz:

Question: I'm looking for talking points/suggestion on a new kindergartner who basically hates it right now (Day No. 3). Starts at bedtime talking about not going and is crying at the breakfast table.

Barbara_Meltz: Oh boy! Call the school today. You need to find out as best you can as quickly as you can what's going on. The goal is to figure out if this is a separation issue or if there is something about K that she doesn't like.

You can also have a conversation with your daughter. Don't have it in the morning, or at bedtime. Best time is when she comes home from school, or when a parent first reunites with her. Begin by asking, "Tell me about kindergarten. What's your favorite part? What's your least favorite part?"

When you call the school -- did I say to do that this afternoon? -- try to reach the teacher. If that's not possible, speak to the principal and see if she can reach the teacher for you and have her call you. (It's important that you go through the chain of command; you don't want the teacher thinking you called the principal because you thought she was doing a bad job.)

Ask the teacher, What has she noticed? (It's possible that your daughter is fine during school, that it's only the anticipation, so the teacher may be suprised.) What suggestions does she have? One of the things you need to figure out is whether she's having a hard time because of separation (is there a history of that?) or whether there is something about K that she doesn't like. That will help you know what to do. But the key is to approach this as a team, school & parent.

For more from Barbara Meltz's latest chat, click here Barbara's next Q&A with readers is on Monday, September 16.

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About the author

Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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Barbara answers questions on a wide range of topics, including autism, breastfeeding, bullying, discipline, divorce, kindergarten, potty training, sleep, tantrums, and much, much more.

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