My son freaks out at preschool....advice?

My 3 year old son just started preschool and he is having a hard time adjusting. It’s been two weeks and he still causes a scene when I drop him off. All the other kids in his class cry but he’s more dramatic. He will fight to run out of the classroom. He yells and screams. He’s afraid of his teacher and any staff there. I have been talking with him I let him cry and we sit for awhile outside the school before I leave but when it comes time to leave him in the classroom he starts getting wild and inconsolable. I have not taken him to daycare or left him in the care of anyone else, not even my family members since the day he was born. He’s attached to me so this is very hard on both of us. I need some encouragement that it’s going to ease up. I feel like such a terrible mother for leaving him at school when he’s crying and screaming.


My son has been the same way. It takes them a bit to adjust. Just reassure him you are coming back and how he’s going to have fun, learn and make new friends.

Best thing is to leave as soon as poossible. Don’t drag it out. Assure him you will be back to get him as soon as you can.


It will take some time…it’s very different for each child. It’s helpful to try and communicate with the teacher and ask what kinds of things he likes such as coloring, trucks or cars, etc. to help engage him in the morning. As other people have said, try to keep the goodbye short…as tough as that may be…but don’t just leave. He WILL get used to it…just try to keep the same drop off and pick up routine the same and sound excited about it!!!

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I would look into a different school/daycare. One that he doesn’t fear and meshes well with his personality. My daughter had a hard time with every school I sent her too, until I found the right one that she feel comfortable in. Now she does regular school, art school, and dance school. But I listened to how she felt and found better options for her.

Hope he gets used soon. It took my daughter a full year.

Take him there on the weekend JUST TO PLAY. Play with him in the playground. Read on a bench. Make school a good, fun place. Take a picnic.

Can you give him something that reminds him of you? A stuffy or a bracelet? My daughter was the same way but having something helped her a lot. Right now we do mommy and me matching bracelets.


I found keeping a calm routine in the morning, walking or letting them ride their scooter, talking about how good it is to meet new friends, read books we don’t have, etc. Let him know you have things to do, but nothing exciting, so he’s not missing out on anything. then once your there say, have fun, hug reassure him you’ll pick him up and leave. It is as much about your anxieties as his. Children will try guilt you out every time, keep reminding yourself, it’s good for his development as a social human. Blessings

I agree. Kiss, drop and go! Try having dad or someone do it if possible :thinking:

He will get used to it. Just keep sending him and be consistent. Short goodbyes. The longer u stay at drop off the more he’s going to flip out. Drop off, kiss, and go.

Listen I had one of those. Lmao, my oldest when she was school age for the first time, would cry, hang on my leg, and totally melt down… but less than 10 minutes after I would leave she was perfectly fine. It’s an adjustment… what helped was having an understanding teacher, she would distract my daughter while I made my escape. It will get better. Hold on and be strong momma, he can feel your emotions.


All that time before you walk in makes it even harder on him. Reassure him you’ll be back, hug and kiss and than leave quickly. It’s a huge adjustment for him but he will get use to it and it will get better.


My oldest son would make a scene , I would tell him I love you, give him a kiss, and tell him see you after school and then the preK teacher would literally have to peel him off my leg. I realized by day 3 that the minute I was out of view, he stopped and started playing. He still continued the same routine for a few weeks!

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As a teacher, they are usually over it less than five minutes after you leave but as a mom, mine is doing the same thing. Lol.  It’s definitely exhausting. 

I guarantee you he calms down after you leave. I have worked in preK. Give it a few weeks, read books about fun things you do at preschool. Watch shows about it at home. On the way there talk about the fun things he will do there. Typically I would say don’t bribe but if that is what u need to do to get through this transition it might help him associate you leaving and him not fussing with a fun treat. Give him a sticker or stamp to remind him that if he didn’t fuss (hysterically) he will get a treat later when u get home. Maybe use an ink pen and draw a smiley face on his hand something he can look at to remind him that he fussed less and you will come back. Do keep it short. Reassure him you will come back after a set time he understands (lunch nap etc) and that he will have fun playing with his friends, doing whatever activities he enjoys at school etc. Also try to get him engaged in an activity that is engrossing before u head out. Set up a play date with kids from school too so he can make some friends with his classmates so he looks forward to seeing his new friends at school.

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Give it time. When my son started daycare after having a regular babysitter while I worked he was inconsolable for about a month until he finally came around and adjusted the routine at daycare… It’ll be OK… My son loves going to daycare now and has really bonded with some of the teachers there

It’s common for most kids that age that have never been I childcare. It took all 3 of my boys 2-4 weeks to adjust. It’s much easier to just drop him off and leave. He will get adjusted eventually.


What does the daycare say about how long he cries after you leave? My son would cry when I left but the employee told me I was not even to my car and he would be okay. I agree with others, just say "see you later, have a good day, kiss and leave. He maybe trying to power struggle with you.

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Give it time. He just started. Keep reassuring him its okay. He’s there to play laugh and learn. :heart:

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from a former preschool teacher PLEASE just drop him off and go….all of this extra stuff you are doing is making it harder on everyone involved (you, him, & the teachers). he is probably fine 5-10 minutes after you leave


He has to learn that he’ll be okay. Prolonging the inevitable isn’t going to help though. Give him a kiss and tell him you love him. Let him know you’ll be back, like you are every time. That he’s going to have fun. And leave. He will stop, especially if he doesn’t get the reaction he’s looking for…

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Most of our kids did this the first time(was daycare) they acted out a bit then again starting school. One of the oldest went to daycare from a baby so there wasnt much transition same with our youngest. Our youngest did fine in daycare mostly but already throwing fits about preschool . He wants to start but then the next time you ask he doesnt .

So this is what you do u have someone Distract him and seek out. He’ll be fine.

Mine did this for about half the year last year. And a couple of times this year. The teachers let him take a small comfort item to keep in his backpack and he could go grab it whenever he needed to.
I know it’s hard momma but just keep talking about school, you can even play school! We got little prizes for when he got in the bus without fighting he would get a prize (his teachers at school did the same)

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Separation anxiety. He will get over it. Sorry for you, but he has to adjust. Sometimes bribery works- lol. Treat him to something little after school. Best of luck!

I was a preschool teachers for years. This is normal when kids haven’t had time with others without you. My own kid did it. I would remind my kiddo, okay moms leaving in 5 mins. And I’ll be back at this time. I even gave her a watch. It worked for her but it took time. Hang in there momma, I know it’s hard

My mom used to sneak out during the pledge of allegiance lol

Just start cutting back a little at a time. From a former childcare teacher. Tell him you love him and that you will see him that afternoon. Hand him to the teacher if you have to fight him to get out the door. Don’t let him hear or see your fears or concerns. Be excited and happy, fake it if you have to. If they have cameras ask to see how long it takes him to calm down. You may be surprised. Never being away from you is why it is so hard. Try letting him do things with others. He just needs to expand his social skills. You got this mom.

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My son did the same I would go to work worried all day finally a daycare worker told me to peek in the window after drop off by the time I got upstairs and to the window he was laughing and playing! Mean while I was at work hours later miserable thinking her was upset! He’s now had his 1st day of grade 12 , they get over it Mamma keep going you will find the routine that works for you both!!


Aw hun I feel for you. My daughter still does this and she’s in 3rd grade . It breaks my heart daily.

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Sorry but some children just don’t settle in pre school. Certainly give it a month…
But if hes still not settled id take him out and try again next year. Is it really worth the upset ? Lots of children don’t attend preschool and go on to settle very well in school because they are emotionally ready and old enough to understand that mum is coming back at the end of the day.
Maybe leaving him for a very short time with someone he knows well would be a better way to start. Building his confidence and independence slowly is better than throwing him straight in and traumatising him.


I went through something similar with my youngest. I literally had to pull him out of the car and it killed me to hear him screaming for me. Once I got back home I would check on him and he was fine.
I know it’s hard but drop him off and go.

It will get better momma! My baby was the same way starting pre k at 4. He was the baby of 3. Never stayed with anyone always with me. He hated school for the first 2 months than he started being ok.

Been there it will get better can u send him on school bus? Also try having a friend or family member drop him off see if he acts same way. If he does I’d be concerned it’s the school if he doesn’t u know it’s u. And it will get better

Very very gentle thought here: he may be picking up your anxiety and fear as well.


I worked as a preschool teacher at the daycare and we had many kids who had a hard time adjusting. It takes 2-3 weeks for them to actually start to adjust. He will find a teacher he connects with and feels comfortable with at some point, and even start to make friends. And honestly, it was a little harder on us when the parents stayed and tried to console the children because it just makes them want to stay with you more. Give your hugs and kisses and I love you’s reassure him that you’ll be back to pick him up and get out of there so the teacher has time to do what she needs to do to console/comfort him before the day starts.


I teach preschool. Drop him at the door and leave. Don’t linger about giving hugs and saying goodbye. He is probably fine within 5 minutes. If it lasts longer than it should, his teachers will let you know. It might even help if you ask someone else to take him. It is a phase that will pass.


Memories. My son was exactly like this. My husband would sit outside on a wall just hearing him crying in the class. Finally the teacher told him he had to leave. Believe me mom it does get easier.

Poor kid. Drop him and go. Pick him up matter if factly with no drama. Go about your day afterwards. Read books supporting him going independently. We had a book about a raccoon momma sending her son off to school with a kiss in his hand that helped.

Now is the time to start letting him stay with family! Becoming independent, is so important as your kid grows up 


I found saying goodbyes at the gate then handing over to the teachers or helpers at the gate who take them in. If u go in the school just drags the crying longer. I would go in the class only first day of each term. After that we say good byes at the gate. Even the teachers say it makes their work easier.

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I did this to my mother (bless her heart)I was awful .I remember her bribing me with toys, play dates ,candy…I would swear they were mean, scream, yell,cry the whole dramatics while being drug in. I remember all that, but do not actually remember how she got me to stop,and as soon as she left I was fine and had fun.
My advice (every kid is different) is to make it as short and sweet as possible,I know that sounds terrible,but drop him off and run,make your good bye’s quick,but never sneak out on them.Maybe have them come out and get him,so he leaves you instead of you leaving them.
Be strong mama. Our job is to raise them to not need us.
Mine are all raised now and very independent , that’s the hardest part of being a mom,when they no longer need us, but that means we did our job as mom right.

He is not ready for preschool. Find a school that shares parent as part of the staff. He might slowly start playing with the other kids if you are still around and after a while he will start getting confident that you can go for a while. If you have never left him with anyone maybe start with after school help. A person comes in to play with him so he gets use to you not being the only one around that he can go to (high school student). Good luck


Make drop off quick and easy, the longer I prolonged it, trying to console my child. It seems like the longer the meltdown lasted. 

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Oh please hug, kiss and leave quickly, he’ll stop by the time you reach your car.

It’s absolutely normal!!!
He will get use to it eventually , but you staying just make the situation worse, take him to the classroom and leave immediately

Maybe he’s just not ready.

Drop him and go. He sees you as a safety net. He has to learn he doesn’t always get his way.

My daughter does it too but not quite as bad now, she’s in second grade. She still has separation anxiety. It’s so hard and I think it’s harder on us mom’s😢

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Can he talk good dose he know when stuff is going on that’s bad?

Give him the top you slept in and a kiss, say you’ll be back and leave.

What did u expect. he is nothing but a Baby .I dont know why you R in a hurry to send him to School.I taught my kids colors counting 1 to 10 and How to write thier names and when they teach the age of 5 they went to kindergarten

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My son was the same, and it lasted that bad until 2nd grade and even part of 3rd. He would actually throw up or have accidents in his pants, it was horribly heartbreaking. He ended up taking up with the school officer that would walk him to class, in first grade and that helped tremendously. He is now 14 and been taking anxiety meds for two years and now enjoys school, going to his friends and spending the night with people. The school counselor, pulled him out of classes in the first few years, he never even realized it was counseling, she’d get him and let him color of whatever in her office and talk to him about his day, teachers, what was bothering him, ect… that helped a lot. I wrote him notes and put in his lunch, like cute drawn pictures (on his level) like a TMNT and said miss you, see you soon!!! Honestly, what ended up helping him the most was when I told him that they let me stay in the janitor closet all day just incase anything happened, I was there. He was like then why can’t you set in class with me, I told him it was bc I was to old and they couldn’t allow that, but they were okay with allowing me to wait on him in the closet, so nobody got in trouble and I was there… I know that’s crazy, but it worked. Also, it’s highly possible your child has anxiety and beyond “separation anxiety” mine did. I did put him in a day school two days a week when he was 2, but I explained to them, the extent of it, asked them to call me when he got that bad, so I could calm him down, well I went to pick him up and he was still in the window crying, his face was raw, they informed me they didn’t call me bc it’s better for the child if the don’t, and maybe children without severe anxiety, but not with him, it made him a million times worse, I couldn’t even walk out of his sight to unbuckle him in his car seat, without him vomiting. Needless to say he didn’t go back, so talk to the councilor and work out a plan that works best for him

Maybe he’s not ready for it.

You need to just kiss him and hug him and leave. Don’t turn to look at him. Don’t wait all that time before class starts. Drop off say goodbye and leave.

Does he continue to cry for very long after you’ve left? Many kids have separation anxiety but are ok 5-10 mins after the parent has left.

Hate to say it but you’re making it worse. Hug and kiss, tell him you’ll be back an just go…

My son was the same, we ended up removing him and getting 5 again the following year. He was very delayed developmentally and we did EI and then he went back while working with an EI specialist, we then kept him there for an extra year as he wasn’t ready for kindergarten socially, and it was the best thing we could have done. After 2 weeks, I would say he is probably not ready, and just my opinion that you should wait until next year.

As a preschool teacher just give your child a hug and kiss, tell them you love them, to have a good day and you will see him later, then leave. Anything extra is just unnecessary and makes it worse for all involved. He’s probably completely fine 5 minutes after you leave.

He is too young to be left all day with strangers. Poor kid. X

Yes separation issues can occur but also keep watch. Sometimes kids act out when something ain’t right. Do you know of any bullying? Unfair treatment? Comforting talk before drop off then leave, when you pick back up ask what they learned or if they had fun today, be enthusiastic about them telling you about their day. As well as watching for signs of anything else. Not to say there is but my nephew used to flip out too, his ended up that a teacher was ignoring a kid bullying him. (He’s autistic) we didn’t find out about it til he came home with a gash on his forehead and a black eye. THEN it was mentioned.

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I used to pass mine straight to the educators say goodbye and go. My MIL took my oldest once and she felt guilty when he started crying so stayed with him all day. It makes it worse if you keep hanging around.

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Following waaaa same thing :sob::face_with_spiral_eyes::sob::sob::sob:

If he’s acting like that there’s probably a reason tbh

I had a kindergarten boy and his Mother would always bring him to the bus. He would throw a BIG FIT when she tried to put him on the bus. I told her not to come out with him. Just let him walk to the bus himself. She tried it the next day and there was no BIG FIT. He got on the bus and sat down with his friends. Totally different little boy.

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Prepare him better…tell him there’s nothing to be scared of, because you’d never leave him anywhere that was scarey…

Maybe let him stay home another year. Three years is too young for many kids


I used to drop my grandson off for my daughter, he had never been left with anybody but me and her, it was awful he would cry and cling to me for 10 minutes , had to peel him off me , I also felt bad, , I would cry in my car after I left him. Then one day his teacher tolde to go around building , to look in window 5 minutes after I was gone he was laughing and playing , it was hard , but now he’s a very happy 3rd grader very social able, he will be ok mom. Just hug , kiss and by by

Do the teachers say he stops crying after you leave? If he does then I wouldn’t be so concerned about it. Alot of times kids stop the minute their parent leaves and often don’t want to go home when it is time to go home. If he is only 3 and it continues I would honestly keep him home until he is 4 if possible as 3 is still young.

Two weeks is too short for him to adjust. You can probably let the dad take him. My daughter is almost the same she started almost 4 due to COVID and the first two months was a struggle too. She wouldn’t go inside the classroom. I had to pull her out the third month then brought her back after summer when she was 4. It made a difference but there were still one or two times I left her crying. She’s in Kindergarten now and although she doesn’t cry anymore she would still try to stay with me longer before going inside her classroom. Give yourself a pat in the back you have good relationship with your son but more of take advantage of it because there’s a chance that when they in middle school they don’t wanna be seen with you. My oldest just turned teenager and I hardly get those hugs and kisses that I used to get from him everyday long time ago. He also cried when we pick him up from daycare even though he started at an earlier age of 2.5 yrs old. It’s very normal. Dont feel you a bad mom. You an awesome one!

I agree the extra stuff is probably making this alot worse than it should be. He has to get used to structure bc he will soon be in kindergarten. Kids adapt! Cut the cord mama :woman_shrugging:t3: if he sees it bothers u, he will respond to your reactions!

Does he have any reason to be experiencing separation anxiety? I did the same thing when I started 1st grade and I’m 64 now. It was caused from being seperated from my mother and thinking she would not come back. My father left our family when I was 3.

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I have worked in pre k and k and they cry when stoped off and cry when they are picked up Just drop him off and leave

Nobody even mentioned, maybe the little guy doesn’t like it because the people aren’t nice. She needs to check on him at different times during the day.

So… don’t bring him to preschool. He is obviously not ready yet. What’s the rush?

Maybe he needs to be home with his mother like children were designed to be

Just drop off say good bye and go x you are prolinging the agony unfortunately x i think it makes it worse tbh xx

All the kids cry when dropped off? I might be the odd one out but it raises red flags for me. I’ve seen a few kids have seperation anxiety but not all of em :worried:

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He’s still young and this is a big adjustment for him. I’m sure if you call the preschool even within ten minutes; they’ll tell you that he’s fine and playing happily!

There’s a mum at our school that I used to hug regularly because her daughter kicked off like this - every day at preschool and all the way through her first year at primary school.

The crying and screaming and tears would stop before her mother even reached the school gate on her way out!

Eventually they discussed methods and routines they would do (how many hugs, how many kisses) before mum left.

Now the mum doesn’t get a backward glance and this girl is 8!

He will get there, honest! If he wasn’t settling - they would call you

Idk how leaving a screaming baby to strangers got normalized. If you don’t have to leave him there then don’t. He’s not ready and honestly he may never be ready. Our children are more comfortable with us it’s almost like it was by design.


Oh mama my little man started Pre-K when he was four and same situation he had never been to child care hell I never even left him with family more than maybe one or two times to run to the grocery store. Hi I’m a stay at home mom so he was with me 24/7 my right hand dude… he did okay the first couple days but after that they would have to pry him off of me. He would scream he would say mean things he would be absolutely heartbroken and it killed me. I used to stand outside his classroom for 15-20 minutes and just cry and listen to him having such a hard time… one day one of the teachers came out and seen me and she came over and gave me a hug and told me that he would be fine and that with each day it would be less and less longer of a meltdown. She told me as soon as I was gone he was fine. She said it takes some kids longer than others to just give it time… heartbroken everyday I left and before I knew it he’s a second grader and doesn’t think twice to bail out my van… Mama just give him some time. Your his whole world and he doesn’t know anything but you. It’s scary for them. Once he finds his place he will fine… Lots of good vibes mama!!!

well thats ur problem. u haven left him alone with anyone ever. its important to socailize your kids with people other then yourself.
dont sit with him. drop him off and leave. u are prolonging tje seperatuon anxiety when u sit with him and take longer to leave. staff are trained to help kids when this happenens. do better at socializing ur kid and this wont happen :roll_eyes:


Oh I so feel this…my son was same. Attached to me. He cried everyday and made himself sick. Every Monday it was awful. I would come home and just cry. This went on till 3rd grade when he got a male teacher and things improved…I just kept taking him to bus and sometimes actually had to take him to school. It was awful. I cried all day wondering if he was OK. Don’t give up…

It will ease. That age is a usually age for separation anxiety as well as the anxiety due to never being away from you. Due to those factors it may take a month or two but once he gets use to the new routine he’ll likely run in and ignore you totally. When I daycared I had this occur often and honestly once the parents had left the kids settled in and had great days.

You need to drop and go. Stop with all of the emotional stuff before school. If you’re not strong how do u expect him to be.

As a former childcare worker, I can honestly say what you’re experiencing is VERY common. Best advice I can give is drop and go as quickly as possible. Don’t spend extra time in the car beforehand. Just park and go inside. Give him a hug, tell him you will be back later and that you love him. The more you elongate drop off, the more difficult it will be for him, the teachers the other children and even other parents that are also dropping off. If the teachers are trying to console him and reassure you, they’re not able to focus on taking care of all the other children in the classroom. If you really want to see what daycare is like for him, don’t make your presence known at pick up. Try to stand where he can’t see you. That way you can observe him without him knowing. 9 times out of 10 the parents of children that have difficult drop offs, are blown away by how happy and content they actually are when they’re not around.

Fid him a new prek with a teacher that he lo es or wait another year tol he is 4

Jmo but preschool is not necessary,he might not be ready emotionally,some kids need more time at home before being sent to ,school,don’t rush his childhood

If hasn’t been with anyone else he doesn’t know any difference time will help lots of patience

Girl same I noticed if I just drop him off and leave the teachers talk him out of his fit then when I pick him up she always tells me he was fine as soon as I left. It’s just the anxiety of you leaving and then when you’re out of site he’s fine.

First and foremost you’re not a terrible mother for leaving him at school when he’s crying I had to adjust to that with my daughter when she started kindergarten she never went to daycare or preschool or anything she just started out in kindergarten and she was scared it just took time. Time was literally it besides trying to encourage her and make it not so scary.

Drop him off and walk away.