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What To Do if Your Preschooler Hates School

(FeatureSource) “I don’t wanna!” can sometimes seem like the stock phrase of any youngster, especially when the beginning of the school year rolls around. Many preschoolers who are going to school for the first time may be reluctant to spend time away from their parents, or they may be frightened to interact with other children and adults.

If temper tantrums are the last thing you hear every morning as you drop your child off at preschool, don’t fear. Dr. Jerry Wyckoff and Barbara Unell, authors of “Getting Your Child from No to Yes” (Meadowbrook Press, $10.00), give a step-by-step plan to dissolve this resistance.

How to Help a Preschooler Who Hates School

  1. Don’t shame.
    Don’t say, “What do you mean you don’t want to go to go to preschool? I paid good money so you could go!” Shaming your child into compliance by remind him of your sacrifice won’t resolve what’s bothering him. Instead, it will create resentment toward you.

  2. Invite feedback.
    Say, “Help me understand why you don’t want to go to preschool.” Asking your child to explain his fears not only tells him you care about him, it helps you identify the problem and solve it.

  3. Don’t demand.
    Don’t say, “You’re going to preschool whether you like it or not. Now get yourself ready.” Demanding that your child comply is bound to fail because it assumes you can control his behavior. You can’t. Your refusal to empathize tells him you don’t care about his feelings.

  4. Shift the focus.
    Say, “Think about all the fun you’ll have at preschool. You’ll miss that if you don’t go.” Helping your child focus on the future fun will make the immediate problem seem less significant. Shifting his focus will help him see the situation in a new light.

  5. Don’t give in.
    Don’t let your child stay home. This will teach him not to care and to give up when faced with adversity. You may think that giving in will help him be happy, but what he really needs is to resolve his fears about going to school.

  6. Be positive.
    Say, “We’re all going to our jobs today. I’m going to mine and you’re going to yours at preschool. We’ll see each other after work.” Putting a positive spin on your time apart can help you both cope with separation more easily. Your child will pick up on your empathy and team approach, which will help him understand that you have something in common – the important responsibility of doing your jobs.

  7. Don’t bribe.
    Don’t say, “If you go to preschool today, I’ll get you new toy to play with when you get home.” Bribing your child tells him that he should expect a material reward for doing what you ask. The reward of fun with friends and a caring teacher should be all the motivation he needs.

  8. Make a deal.
    Say, “I know you want to play with puzzles this morning. When you go to preschool, then you can ask your teacher if you can play with puzzles.” Motivate your child and remind him that when he does what he has to do, then he gets to do what he wants to do (within limits, of course).

  9. Remind him about the rule.
    Say, “I understand that you don’t want to go to preschool, but the rule says that you go on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Today is Wednesday, so let’s get ready.” By lovingly invoking the rule, you’re telling your child that you care about him even when the rule tells him to do something he doesn’t like.

“When your child knows you’ll support him,” says Wyckoff, “he’ll feel comfortable asking for help. And if he knows you’ll take his concerns seriously, he’ll be more inclined to cooperate.”

Author: Maureen Burns
Article provided courtesy of FeatureSource.com

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