March 22, 2021

Ask Amy - The Return to In-Person School Isn't Going Great

What should parents do when the return to in-person school, after a year of being home with Mommy, is sort of a disaster?

This week's question comes from Carrie on Facebook:

My 3-year-old just started in-person preschool after being home with us during the pandemic. I figured it would be an adjustment, but it's been brutal. As soon as you so much as mention "school," she starts crying - actual, big tears. She’s been waking up too early and hardly eating. She's never been good with change, and thanks to Covid, she's lived in this tiny bubble up until now. (Her teacher is lovely, by the way.)

Will this pass? PS: I'm 31 weeks pregnant with baby number two, so there's also that.

This is a lot of change for a little one all at once. Amy offers several different approaches for making this better, including

  • books like SORRY, GROWN-UPS, YOU CAN’T GO TO SCHOOL! by Christina Geist
  • using a three-year-old's love of defying expectations and of knowing more than grownups to your advantage
  • working with the teacher
  • scaffolding the transition

By leading with compassion for your daughter's struggle, you'll both make it through. This is a season, and it’s definitely made more complicated by the last year. Have patience with her and with yourself. The dress-up corner is kind of a wonderful place, and we hope that pretty soon your daughter will be pulling on your hand to get inside the classroom faster.

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