Blick asks:

my 5 year son cries he doesn"t want to go to kindergarten

In Topics: Kindergarten readiness
> 60 days ago



Mar 25, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Dear Blick,

Sounds like a difficult situation! Is your son already in kindergarten, or is he supposed to attend kindergarten in the fall, and he is reluctant to do so?

If your son is in kindergarten now, I would recommend that you talk with your son's teacher to learn more about your son's experience at school. Is he typically fine during the day, but he falls apart when he gets home or when it is time to go to school? Or, does he struggle throughout the day? Are there particular times of the day that are difficult for him? I would also talk with your son about what he does not like about kindergarten.

I also wonder if he is in a full-day or half-day kindergarten. Research shows that parents and teachers typically prefer a full-day kindergarten, it can often be challenging for the child. I know some parents have transitioned their child to a half-day kindergarten when there is an option. You may want to look into this. For more on this, please see the first link below.

If your son stays home from school, it is important that his experience in the home is not "reinforcing." That is, staying at home should not be a super fun, positive experience where he gets to spend a lot of time with his parents. You might also consider rewards for attending school. If he attends school (without crying), he can "earn" a sticker on the calendar, which translates to special time with mommy or daddy. If he gets four or five stickers in a week, he can earn a special prize at the end of the week. I have included a link to an article about school refusal below that may be helpful.

If your son is not in kindergarten and is supposed to begin attending in the fall, there are a number of steps that you can take to prepare him for the transition.

L. Compian, Ph.D.
Counseling Psychologist Expert Panel
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