Should you change preschools?

Pulling her out of school shouldn’t be your first choice. There are steps you can take before making such a drastic change.

Dr Richard C. Woolfson

Despite all your encouragement, your kid dislikes her preschool. She wears you down with cries of: “I hate it and I don’t want to go!” You may have reached the point where you’re considering the possibility of pulling her out, in order to try an alternative centre.

While that’s always an option, it shouldn’t be your first choice. There are steps you can take before making such a drastic change in your child’s life.

There are a number of potential problems with changing the preschool too quickly:

First, there may be a much simpler solution that doesn’t involve such upheaval (for example, a change of group within the preschool may greatly improve her experiences there).

Second, the problem may have nothing to do with the preschool itself and more with your child’s development (for instance, if she is very shy, she will have social difficulties, no matter which preschool she attends).

Third, changing preschool too easily creates a precedent in your child’s mind that if she whines loud enough, she’ll always get her own way (for instance, she may start protesting about taking piano lessons because she knows you will pull her out when she complains about that).

Finally, if you give in too quickly, she may start moaning about her new preschool – and you’ll have to deal with the problem all over again.

Explore other options before you make a decision to swop preschool. Most childhood concerns can be resolved without withdrawing the child, if parents and the preschool staff work together to find a solution.

Bear in mind that nearly every child is reluctant to go to preschool sometimes, for reasons ranging from being tired to wanting to avoid a particular lesson.

If your child is very unhappy, find out the reasons. They can range from falling out with her best friend at preschool, worrying about fights at home between parents and difficulty with some of the activities, to disliking her teachers, lack of self-confidence, being bullied and more.

Talk to your child about the key areas of her preschool life, such as her friends, the games, the outdoor activities, the snacks and lunches, the toilets and the staff. Listen carefully to what she has to say.

Remember that your child’s class teacher is the best source of information regarding her progress. Make a special appointment to speak to her. Explain your concerns and listen to her observations. You might just find the root cause of your child’s unhappiness. It takes several weeks for a child to settle into preschool. If she is still unhappy after a reasonable period, then consider your options. But do plan this very carefully.

And if a swop is imminent, tell the staff of her new preschool about the difficulties she is experiencing, and ask them to explain in detail their settling-in procedures for new children.

Encourage your child to have a positive approach to her new placement, and monitor the first few weeks of her attendance very closely.


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8 reasons your child suddenly hates school

How to prepare your child for preschool



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