My daughter started preschool last year as a 3yr old. She absolutely loved it! She went 3 days a week and would ask daily if she was going today everyday. We switched schools for 4yr old preschool thinking she would be just as good. She has fought me to go since the first week. She works herself up so much that she is now making herself throw up. I have taken her to the Dr.'s and she did have a sinus infection, but after taking all her medication and follow up,every things ok she still continues. After 5 weeks in the new school the principal of the school recommended that we try the school she attended the year prior.
After staying with her for the first hour of school, she had a good day. But the next day she started all over again with not wanting to go. She makes herself so upset she ends up vomiting.
I would GREATLY appreciate any suggestions you may have to help me help my child. I hate that this has to be so dramatic daily.
From: Cathy, Grand Rapids, ND
This is an unusual situation, to have been sent back to a previous school; makes me wonder: was the teacher at the new school unwilling, unskilled or not inclined to be helpful? So my first suggestion is to make the effort and time to connect with the current teachers so that you are all partners in figuring this out. In fact, I would also suggest that the teacher from last year be included, so she can observe your daughter. It's possible a social, behavioral or developmental issue has surfaced since last year.
That thought prompted me to turn to Carol Mersky, a long-time early childhood educator and director of the preschool at Temple Emanuel in Newton, MA.
Absolutely start with a conference, she said, and in particular, ask the teachers to suggest children for playdates. Also arrange to volunteer in the classroom.
"That gives you the chance to eyeball everything that's going on," Mersky said, "and it gives you a chance to bond afterwards with your daughter afterwards: 'My favorite part of the morning was the dress up corner. What did you like best?" It may also help you to help her make a bridge between home and school: "You know the book the teacher read, about a bunny? Well, you have a bunny. Why don't you take it to school....."
Once your daughter knows you're going to stay for a little while, or that you will drop her and come back, she may be able to better manage the separation. "This behavior is more typical of a 2-year-old than a 4," Mersky said, another reason why seeing her behavior in context in the classroom will be helpful.
Have a predictable routine for the morning, from when she wakes up, through leaving the house. Have a ritual for dropoff. Never leave without saying goodbye.
Is there something that's happened in the past few months that might be the source of emotional insecurity for her? Did you choose a new school because you had moved? Has there been a death or illness? Financial stress? Change of jobs? Divorce or separation? Any stress of this kind can make a child regress.
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