How to Leave a Child Who Is Screaming & Crying at a Preschool
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He'll have lots of fun at preschool once he adjusts.

Leaving a screaming and crying kid at preschool might just be every mom’s worst nightmare. Saying goodbye to your preschooler is hard enough on you, but when it’s tough on your child at the same time, you may be ready to give up. Although this separation anxiety is a major challenge, you can help your little one through it so she’ll adjust to a new routine.


  1. 1
    Wake up your preschooler in the morning so he has plenty of time to ease into the day. A stressed and frazzled morning routine where everyone’s zipping around and barking at each other won’t help your child feel relaxed and confident. Just the opposite, a beginning like this can contribute to an unhappy kid who doesn’t feel ready to greet the challenges of the day.
  2. 2
    Make your kid a good breakfast, full of nutritious food and quality family time. Sitting with your little one for the morning meal can be an ideal way to connect in the morning before everyone heads off in separate ways.
  3. 3
    Hang out with your little one at preschool for a few minutes to make an easier transition. Read a book, draw a picture or watch her build a block tower. The purpose is to help her feel comfortable and settle her in before you head for the door.
  4. 4
    Institute a tried-and-true goodbye routine that you use every day. Elaborate and fancy isn’t necessary--it just needs to be predictable so your kid knows you’re on your way. You might scoop him up, look out the window to see what the weather looks like and make a comment about what he’ll need to wear when he goes outside to play. Tell him you love him and that you’ll be back to pick him up when preschool is over. You could give him six kisses on the nose and two squeezes goodbye. Head for the door firmly, even when he breaks into screams and wails of protest.
  5. 5
    Call the preschool when you get to where you’re going. Ask about how your little one is doing and how long she cried. Chances are, you weren’t even out of the parking lot before she was busy playing. It’s important to find out whether she’s crying for hours or whether she simmers down within 10 to 15 minutes. As long as she’s calming down, you can feel confident that leaving her isn’t anything more serious than standard separation anxiety. If you find out that she’s not settling, you may need to delve deeper to figure out what’s going on. You may find a mismatch between your little one and the preschool that’s keeping her from feeling happy and comfortable.


  • Kids need predictability and communication to ease through separation anxiety. As tempting as it may be, don’t sneak out and skip saying goodbye to your little one. The KidsHealth website advises that this can create more anxiety in your little one because he needs that special, predictable goodbye.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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