My Child Doesn’t Want to go to School!

Dear Sharon,

My daughter is five and has been to a Pre school where we had no problem. Suddenly she doesn’t want to go to school. Our mornings are crazy. Kindergarten is great! Why doesn’t she want to go? I am late for my job every day.

Dear Parents,

It is not unusual for children to need time and support during the transition from nursery school to Kindergarten.

I agree that Kindergarten can be great but it is usually very different than a pre-school setting. There are often more children and a lower teacher-student ratio in Kindergarten and curriculum is usually less focused on play and more geared towards learning particular skills. Kindergarten can also be a time when friendships develop without as much adult supervision, this can mean new social challenges that are exciting and developmentally appropriate but potentially intimidating, especially at the beginning of the year.

All of this can be exciting and the first step towards becoming a more autonomous young but it is often a big change.

Transition periods for children are usually a LOT of work for parents. Patience and persistence are often needed and in short supply. (All of this can be true during adult transitions as well.)

More often than not Moms and Dads need to set aside extra time to play with their child, listen to their concerns and offer explanations and reassurances about the things that are different in the new school. Sometimes I suggest that parents in your situation ask their children to say what is good and what is hard about their day. This simple exercise can open up lines of communication and help parents know where they might offer support.

As you mentioned, mornings can be particularly challenging as little ones get ready to head to their new environment. I suggest that parents try and give extra time to morning routines so that things are organized and not too rushed. Playing fun games on the way to school can also help. I also suggest that Moms and Dads keep in good communication with teachers, letting them know if the transition has been difficult so they can offer extra support at drop off time or during the day. Teachers often have suggestions that might help at home as well.

Sometimes a takes a while for a child to get used to a new school environment other times the transition goes quickly. Try to empathize with your child’s pace and remember that transitions usually come to an end.