Q: My daughter will be starting kindergarten this year,but she tells me she doesn't want to go and she has a bad separation issue. How do I get her to go to school without crying all day about wanting me?

A: In a few months time, your daughter may have worked out some of her separation issues--so that this problem may evaporate by the time she actually goes to kindergarten. Meanwhile, you can help her prepare for school by introducing small doses of separations from you which she can find enjoyable: a visit to a friend's house or a day with Grandma. Little by little, your daughter will become more comfortable with spending time away with you, because she knows that you will return when you said that you would and because she had a good time even when you were gone.

Small children don't always have a well-developed sense of time--so that they can't distinguish very well between an hour without Mom and a month without Mom.

Meanwhile, use a light touch about school. Acknowledge that she may feel scared about going, but that she'll probably feel more comforable after a bit. When the time comes, if you think that your daughter is still frightened to be separated from you, see if you and your daughter can visit the school a few days ahead and perhaps meet the teacher. Is there another child whom your daughter knows in advance who will be in her class? When the first day comes, it is sometimes best to tell your daughter that you will stay for a few minutes to help her feel settled. Give her a little memento to put in her pocket or her bag that reminds her of you, so she can take it out if she feels sad. If you think the problem is serious, you might speak privately with the teacher.

Many children are a bit weepy at first, on the initial day of school. Most of them cheer up in a few minutes and get into the swing of things.

Good luck!

Answered by Dr. Elizabeth Berger



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