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Need advice with our 4 yr old and school
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Bramar82 posted:
Our 4 year old daughter was really excited to start 4-year old Kindergarten. The first couple weeks went great, then her teacher was out sick one day and they had a substitue. Our daughter cried for a half hour and wouldn't let me leave. She said she mised her teacher and didn't want to go to school unless she would be there. Now, a week later, she's still crying when we drop her off, and she cries when her teacher leaves her with someone else like for Gym class or Music class. She's really clinging to the teacher and doesn't seem comfortable when someone else is teaching or working with them.

Another seperate issue, is that her teacher has told us that she does really good coloring and cutting, but she's extremely hard on herself and gets very frustrated if she makes mistakes on art-work. She seems to have turned into a perfectionist which seems out of the ordinary for her age.

There is some history in our family of depression/anxiety, so I really hope this has nothing to do with that, but I'm concerned for her and want her to enjoy her days at school without taking things so seriously. From my observation of other kids in her class, this type of behavior doesn't seem typical.

Any suggestions/similar experiences?
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momuv4girls responded:
This is tricky.........and sounds very familiar to me.
My daughter acted the same way. She started K when she was 4, and looking back, I sure wish I hadn't pushed her to. (She is now 16).

Of course this is simple for me to say, sitting here, but if it all possible, I would take her out of K and have her stay at home with you for 1-more year.
If that is not an option, then I would try to modify her time at school. What are her hours of attendance at school/daycare away from you ? If possible, maybe you could have her only go until noon ?

Your little ones behavior does sound anxiety driven, and that is really great you are aware of family history, because it does matter.
Like I mentioned, if you are able to have her quit all together, or modify her hours, then her behavior will likely get better and she'll feel less stressed.

Take care, and I hope you are able to work this out, because I know how stressful this all feels to us moms!!
-Kathleen
 
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Bramar82 replied to momuv4girls's response:
It's stressful on us DADS too....

I guess I'm not comfortable pulling her out of school after only a couple weeks. I feel like we should be able to talk her through this new transition. But maybe I'm wrong.

To answer some of your questions: She goes to school 5 days a week for half days. And she stays at the daycare in the school for 3 of those days once school is over at noon. The weird part is that she's really excited to go to school until we get inside the building, then the change in behavior starts.

I'm starting to wonder how much my wife and my stress level is playing into this too. Along with the feelings of Anxiety we've been having seeing our first child starting school, my wife is also at a very busy point in her life in Grad School and working on the side. Meanwhile I'm trying to hold down the fort at home, and juggle my busy work schedule and responsibilities. I think maybe if we could try not to appear so rushed and stressed in the mornings, maybe she wouldn't feed off of our emotions and behavior as much.

Does that make sense? Any other feedback is welcomed!

Thanks
 
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Roy Benaroch, MD replied to Bramar82's response:
You're certainly right about how your own feelings affect your child. She does perceive the rushing and anxiety and exhaustion. I like your idea of working towards a more relaxed routine.

Other ideas:

1. Make drop off quick and matter-of-fact, and part of a fixed routine.
2. Make her some kind of little badge or toy with your face on it, and mom's too. It can be a new "bravery badge", or a new stuffed animal that wears a necklace with a locket, or a locket that she can wear herself.
3. Invite one-at-a-time new friends from class to your house for play time. These ought to be fairly short, at first. You can work up to 2 or 3 kids at a time later; and later still, encourage her to go over to new friends houses (again, for pre-planned SHORT visits at first-- it's important that the playtime ends as planned, NOT ends when one or both kids fall apart!)

Best of luck!
 
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momuv4girls replied to Bramar82's response:
Hi again Dad.........sorry for that mix up!

You are right on about the stress part. I know how worked up and stressed my daughter gets in the morning when I get rushed and in turn start hustling her.

As for the taking her out of school part......I am solely speaking on my experience now that my daughter is 16. Her separation anxiety was very similar to your experience and school at age 4 was very difficult for her. I noticed it also when there was a group assembly or when several classes would mix together, she would become too overwhelmed and cry.

NOW that she is a senior in High School, she is a good year to a year and a half younger than her classmates and her maturity is where is should be, but not up to par with her classmates. She wants to go off to college, but am leery about sending a 17-y.o. away - - too many temptations, little impulse control etc..... A lot of that will change as she matures, but on the whole, I wish I had waited before sending her to K so young.

That's been our experience......the best of luck with your little one !!
Warm regards,
-Kathleen


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