Does your 4-year-old get upset going to school?
Is he refusing school every day?
Has he ultimately refused to go to school anymore?
Refusing to go to school might have different reasons behind it. Sometimes kids who just started school find it difficult to wake up in the morning, get ready and go to school. Some kids don’t like the idea of leaving their mom behind at home.
School refusal from a 4-year-old must be expected at the start, as it makes them upset to leave home. Most kids cry at school because they cannot settle down in the environment. Some kids stress over sudden learning and mingling with their peers.
When a 4-year-old doesn’t want to go to school, he might fake sickness, cry or shout in protest because this is what they can only do. Instead of getting angry and helpless, you, as a parent, need to find the root cause of his holding back from going to school.
There are many strategies parents can follow to make their child return to school normally, but first, let’s see how it is normal for a 4 -year old to refuse to go.
Is it normal for a 4-year-old that he doesn’t want to go to school?
It is normal for a preschooler to refuse school for various reasons. Some of them could be:
1- Not ready to leave his comfort zone
Home is the ultimate comfort space for everyone.
Being an adult feels the best when you come home and change into your PJs. The same goes for a 4-year-old kid who has spent four years at home, cuddling with his mommy in the morning, having breakfast, and watching his favorite cartoons.
So, he does not want to go to school when he leaves his comfort zone to go to a place where he has to act specifically.
2- Fearing going to a new place
For a 4-year-old kid, the school would be an entirely new place. Before school, he must have been accompanied by his mom where ever he went. Sometimes children fear going to a new place alone, making them cry and refuse to go.
3- Difficulty adapting to the new routine
It is common for preschoolers to find it extremely hard to adapt to a new routine. Getting up early to get ready and step out of the house makes them cranky.
In addition, there is a possibility that the child who refuses to go to school is not getting enough sleep. It takes a couple of weeks to get into the new routine.
Read more about What If A 4-Years-Old Is Not Getting Enough Sleep?
4- Finds school boring
Sometimes kids want to skip school simply because they find school boring and home the ultimate fun place. But, obviously, he has to follow his teacher’s instructions and do some learning, which makes them furious.
5- Not ready to be independent
Most kids who cry and refuse to go to school are either the elder child, the only child, or the child who is extremely attached to their moms.
Kids with these factors do not want to be independent at home or school. They simply need their mom to be around them 24/7/
What is School anxiety in preschoolers?
Going to a new place can make anyone anxious. Usually, 4-year-olds who start preschool at this stage find it difficult to buy the idea of leaving their home for some hours and spending it at a new place.
4-year-olds usually do not like to mingle around unfamiliar people nor enjoy the sudden change in their routine. The unfamiliarity with the place, people, and change in routine make them anxious.
Some preschoolers face separation anxiety from their parents, which is completely normal. However, this anxiety does not allow them to accept the fact.
Preschoolers who face school anxiety might act the same around the world.
They will constantly ask you to stay at school, cry when you drop them off, refuses to leave your hand, complains about stomachache, or might throw up out of anxiety.
Lastly, if nothing works their way, they throw tantrums like shouting and crying loudly and are not ready to leave you at any cost.
The following tips will help you overcome your 4-year-old’s school anxiety.
How do you get a 4-year-old to go to school?
Starting a preschool can be an overwhelming change for you and your child, but with a few steps, it could become a beautiful and exciting beginning for him. Here are ten tips for getting your 4-year-old to school happily.
1- Take him to play dates before enrolling him in the school
Playdates are the best way to make your child comfortable spending time with other kids and people. Though it has fun activities the whole time, the child will get used to the changing environment and mingling around the kids.
2- Take your child to the school just to visit
Taking your child to his school-to-be is a great idea. Before his first day at school, visit the place with him. Show him his class, meet with his class teacher, play with him in the playground, show him the washroom, etc.; this way, the place will be a bit familiar to him when he starts school.
3- Indulge in the new routine beforehand
Prepare your child weeks before school starts. Set his sleeping and waking patterns according to the school. Give him breakfast, lunch, and dinner when you will give him in the future. This way, it will be easy for you and him to adapt to the new routine.
4- Practice getting ready at home
Before school starts, do some drills to fasten the morning activities at home, like wearing buttons, socks, a backpack, shoes, a coat, etc. the more you practice beforehand, the easier it will be for you both.
5- Start the school gradually
When he starts school, don’t overburden or push him. Leave the child in the school for some time (for like 15 minutes) during the first week. Then, gradually increase the time with his ease.
6- Talk good about school
Talk to him about school in the daily routine. Share your school life experiences with him. Tell him school-related stories. Dont’ ever show him that it would be difficult for you to leave him at school or you will miss him.
7- Let your child take her favorite toy to the school
Bringing a favorite toy to school may comfort the child as he might feel safe and familiar with anything. Children are really close to some toys, taking along one would definitely help positively.
8- Make his favorite meal for the lunch box
Ask him one night before what he wants to take in the lunch box. Then, prepare the lunch box as he wants it. Never put things in the lunchbox that he does not like. It makes the child have trouble at lunchtime which eventually spoils his mood for the rest of the day.
9- Do not scold or threat
Scolding and threatening make a child more sensitive and anxious. In addition, the long-term effects of yelling at little ones lead them to aggression.
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10- Pretend play at home
Children of this age love to play role-playing with siblings or parents. So pretend and play school time with him, use puppets, dolls, or stuffed toys to act as students, and make different scenarios like the first day at school, the first washroom visit, etc.
What to do if your 4-year-old doesn’t want to go to school anymore?
Cases where some children go to school fine, but suddenly parents notice a change in their behavior and complain that the child does not want to go to school anymore.
Situations like these need to be handled seriously by the parents, and the following step must be taken to see everything is fine.
1- Talk to the child
First and foremost, gently ask your child what is wrong. Sometimes kids get bullied by other kids, which makes them disturbed. It could be a fight with friends, or somehow, the child is scolded by the teacher.
Talk to the child calmly, and do cross-questioning without making him uncomfortable. Most importantly, talk to him during his bedtime. Most children share their wishes, fears, and emotions when they are about to sleep.
Make him comfortable and assure him that you can help him sort out his school-related problem.
2- Talk to the teacher
Suppose your child isn’t sharing what bothers him; talk to the teacher. Let her know the child is unwilling to go to the school and see what she recommends.
However, she will observe the child during school hours and can help you sort out the issue.
3- Make sure nothing is wrong
In situations like these, always ask the child if someone has hurt him in school or elsewhere. By age 4, you must educate him regarding the bad and the good touch.
Give him a sense of protection that Mom and dad are here to listen to him even if you are scared to talk about it.
See if the child only resists going to school or does not want to even step out of the home for fun.
4- Make sure your child gets enough sleep at night
A big reason for school refusal could be a lack of sleep and tiredness. For example, 4-year-old kids find it hard to get up early in the morning. For that,10-12 hours of sleep is necessary for a brain 4-year-old to function correctly for the whole day.
Besides this, take proper care of his diet, and he must be well fed at night in the morning, and balanced food should also be sent in the lunch.
5- Reward him for going to school happily
If you see some improvement in your child after working on his refusal, reward him for being a strong kid to take positive steps.
Make a weekly chart where you can put star stickers on the days he attends school without crying and refusing. Then, reward him with something special when he achieves a certain number of stickers.
6- Give him a break and take a promise
Sometimes kids just need a break from all the chaos. They just want to have a few holidays to stay at home. So tell the child that you are giving him a break for a couple of days. But after that, he needs to go to school regularly without refusals, mood swings or crying.
7- Stand on your grounds
We emphasize that scolding and threats will never work. What work is to take the love and tough approach. Make the child understand that every kid goes to a school to get an education. Just like your parents are working to pay bills, you must attend school to get an education.
Most of all, by sitting at home, he cannot explore various things and miss the best days of his life. Ensure that everything will be fine once he starts making friends at school.
8- See a doctor
After taking all the possible steps, if the child is still unwilling to go to school, take him to a child psychiatrist. A doctor will know better how to ask why he refused the school.
Sometimes children are affected by Dyslexia, where they cannot process language. ADHD can also affect small kids’ learning, making them hesitant to go to school. So it’s better to get him checked with the doctor.
Your 4-year-old doesn’t want to go to school anymore for several reasons. Some of the top reasons are they are not well rested or well fed, they are having difficulty learning or making friends at school. Instead of pushing your little one in school, figure out what’s the root cause of this problem and then solve his issues.