Back-to-preschool blues (and how to beat them).

Term four: We survived the first day back at preschool.

At the beginning of this year, my daughter faced the daunting experience of her first day at preschool. It was tough. She didn’t want me to leave, but as the term progressed it got easier.

Then term two came around. Back to square one. Term three. Same thing.

My daughter likes preschool. She chats endlessly about her friends, reading books, gardening and her favourite past-time: the art studio. When I arrive to collect her, she is delighted to present me with her latest stick-on-the-fridge masterpiece.

After two weeks off the scene though, the fun times spent at preschool have seemingly been erased from her memory.

Suddenly, her friends have become complete strangers, the teachers have the plague and should be avoided at all cost, and she has lost all ability to emit any kind of noise (one thing she is normally above average at). She is clinging to my leg as though her life depends on it.

When I ask her who she would like to go and play with, she sadly directs her little finger at me.


It is at this point I have actually found myself trying to convince a three-year-old of the benefits of a quality education. Which, I’m sure, every sleep-depraved, rushing-to-get-to-work, desperate mother can admit to attempting in an effort to leave that school yard without a fuss.

It is challenging.

I have questioned myself on more than one occasion over whether preschool is an absolute necessity.

The conclusion I keep coming up with is, yes. For us it is.

Preschool has taught her so many things. Things I simply cannot manage to teach her no matter how hard I try. Take the alphabet for instance. For 12 months I battled my way to ‘E’….then nothing. After attending preschool in only a matter of weeks she knew every letter, the tune and the lyrics at the end.

All day at the beginning of term one, then term two, then term three, I was haunted by her sad declarations of love and a desire to “stay with you today mummy”.

So for the first week of Term 4, I was determined we would have an uneventful first day back at school.


Here are some handy hints to ease your child (and you) back into school. They worked for us and hopefully they might help you out too.

1. Chat with the teachers.

I spoke with the preschool staff about the difficulty we were having. They had plenty of great advice.

They assured me she was happily partaking in set activities, forming strong social ties and has transitioned well into the preschool program. And I believe them.

Ultimately, a good relationship with the people you entrust your children with, is essential to the success of your child’s preschool experience.

The teachers have plenty of great advice.

2. Get kids involved.

My daughter loves helping out, so I include her in the entire preparation process.

I take her supermarket shopping, where she gets the opportunity to select her own lunch. She helps pack her lunchbox. Pick her own preschool outfit and pack a spare set of clothes in her school bag.

Get kids involved.

3. I don’t do the bolt.

Many parents are advised to do a quick drop off and leave to avoid prolonging the inevitable.

This may work for some children and parents, but it didn’t for us. Instead I stay until I know she is comfortable and feels secure with a teacher.

I reassure her someone will arrive in the afternoon to collect her. If it is a grandparent picking her up it gives her something to look forward to at the end of the day.

Let them know who is picking them up.

4. Consistency.

I never allow her to have a day off preschool simply because she doesn’t want to go. (If she is unwell, it is perfectly acceptable).

Despite repeat attempts to not get dressed, not get out of bed and not get in the car. We always turn up.

Unless they're sick, send them to school.

5. Arrive on time.

I (aim to) arrive on time. This way, my daughter watches the other children go about their morning routine.

She then feels compelled to do the same as the other kids. Sign in, unpack her lunch box, choose her locker and say goodbye to mum without any hint of a meltdown.

Arrive on time.

How do you cope on those days when your child says they would rather stay with you than go to school?

Want more? Try:

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