For the past 2 weeks, Kate has been crying every morning when I drop her off at school.
It started because of a change of routine, as some days I could not pick her up after school when I was still at work.
It did not help that the first time the hubs had to pick her, he completely forgot about it! By the time he reached her school, he was half an hour late.
To a little child, 30 minutes feels like an eternity.
She later told me that she was afraid daddy had forgotten about her and left her in school. Besides, she was very, very hungry.
From that day on, she kept saying she didn’t want to go to school anymore and would cry upon arriving at school.
We kept trying to talk her out of her fears and reason with her, to no avail.
After trying to problem solve for 2 weeks, I found out that she has 2 trigger points.
|Poor lil Kate|
The first is that she does not take to change well.
Her teachers explained that in children around 3 years of age, their sense of order is quite strong. More so in some children, and less in others. For Kate, she has a very strong need for order and her teachers mentioned how on Fridays, she gets out of sorts because they have music and outdoor play, which throws her out of whack.
Her teacher managed to solve this problem by giving her ample time for transition and to pre-empt her before a change in activity.
Thus the fact that it was a different person picking her up everyday, either myself, the hubs, or one of my sisters-in-law, made her anxious.
Her teacher said that like clockwork, at the start of their dismissal routine, she would suddenly burst into tears.
I solved the problem by letting her know the night before who was going to pick her up the next day. Initially, when she asked me in the morning, “Mummy, are you going to pick me later?” I would say yes, or I’ll try. I didn’t know what was behind that question, and that a vague answer made her more anxious.
I also asked whoever was picking her to be there 10 minutes early, so that once she started craning her neck to see if someone was going to be at the school gate, she would spot one of us before the fear seized her.
We did this for a week to reassure her and this stemmed her dismissal meltdown.
Secondly, I discovered that she is very sensitive to tone of voice.
Every time she cried, her teachers would try to gently talk her out of it. When that did not work, they must have talked to her in a firmer tone, and sometimes they got her to sit in the thinking chair in a corner so that she did not disturb the other children while she cooled down.
I’m quite certain that none of her teachers have really scolded her, but to her, even a raised tone is considered to be a “scolding”.
It reached a point where I was asking her to do something and she replied, “Ok, I will do it, but can you ask Ms C not to scold me anymore?” When she responded that way the whole weekend, I knew something was wrong.
She was so fearful of her teacher!
After many, many little talks, she mentioned that she likes one of the new teachers, a soft-spoken, gentle lady.
I spoke to her teachers and they were very understanding, and stopped putting her on the thinking chair.
Whenever she started crying, the new teacher would sit with her and speak to her quietly.
Thankfully, that 2-week crying episode is over.
Even after 6 kids, I am learning something new every time.
I’m just glad I managed to resolve her worries and learnt more about her in the process.