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I Don't Want to Go to School!

Every time we tell my son "it's time to get ready for school" his inevitable reply is "but I don't want to go to school!"  This started over a year ago, and even though I kept telling myself it's just a phase, it hasn't stopped yet.  Late last winter I was just starting the pregnancy with son #2 and despite my best efforts to contact pre-schools and get my elder son enrolled, the strong urge to procrastinate won out and I didn't lift a finger until November that year.  This means we MAY be able to get him in to another pre-school by next fall (2007).  That's a big MAY.

Currently he's only going to his care center 2 days a week at most.  Sometimes if he's sick or there's a weather day, we haven't taken him in.  Add to that the two and a half months he was home with me for my maternity leave, and maybe he thinks just whining about it will mean he can stay home instead (or better yet, go to Granny's house!).  When he starts his denial I try to engage him in a conversation about what it is he doesn't like about school, so we can address what his issues are rather than just dismissing them.  Usually he says he doesn't like when his "friends" at school hurt him (which doesn't necessarily mean physical hurt, but also emotional hurt).  The scenarios he describes are not unusual interactions for 3 year olds, as far as I can tell, so I offer him some solutions for dealing with the situations that arise.  I've discussed his concerns with the teachers and tried to probe them for solutions, but they have their own issues in trying to deal with the gaggle of kids in the classroom, so my little guy's needs just get lost in the mix.  In my heart of hearts, though, I know that this is not the place for him to do his best growing and learning.  But, until our number is up at any of our other choices, this place will have to do.

Am I the ONLY mama who totally missed the preschool boat?  I mean I heard it was difficult but I think needing full time preschool 2-3 days a week and needing to get enrolled more than a year in advance really threw me for a loop.  I think I really mucked this one up and I hope my little guy doesn't suffer for my mistake.  Hopefully, I'll get a call that our dream situation has arrived, and then things will get better.  I also can't help wondering if we actually make the change, he'll still not want to go to school because ultimately, he just wants to be with his family instead.


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I haven't really had to deal with this yet (DD is 7 1/2 months) but I do have a question - does your son have to go to a school per se? We have some amazing community centers around Portland that offer great "classes" for kids that range everywhere from a few hours to half days to all day. Maybe your son just needs a change of scene for a little while? New faces, new friends, new teachers?

I know my stepson (now almost 12) loved the time he spent at the Sellwood CC enjoying a variety of classes from art to swimming in the summer to martial arts.

I have the same conversation with my 4 year-old every school day as well. I think it is as much that he wants to be with me as it is that he finds school challenging. There is a lot to learn! I do ask my son what specifically is bothering him, but I also make sure to say really positive things about his school, like, "but how exciting it is to have such great teachers and friends!" and "wow, you guys got a new bunny! How lucky you are!" I also encourage him to talk about what he did at school and try to incorporate some of those themes at home so he feels validated. This seems to help him understand that, while he would rather be with me, school is at least second best.

I don't know where you are located, but my son goes to Growing Seeds North and we love it. I think there are still one or two openings in the preschool. They are also planning on opening one on Hawthorne which I am sure will be great. The directors are very committed and my kids (I have a two year old there, too) are really blossoming! Good luck!

I had a problem with my son when he was in preschool. He enjoyed it once he was there, but it could be so hard to get him there. If he said he didn't want to go, I'd tell him we have to go and let his teacher know why he won't be coming today (he just thought that was the rule). Almost every time, when we got into the classroom and he saw what was going on that day, he immediately dropped his resistance. Only a few times did I have to stay for a few minutes and play with him before he was okay with staying.

Are you able to stay at your son's school and help out (sometimes they'll let you bring babies with you)?

heartbreaking - awful to think your child isnt getting the support you want him to have. have you looked at any of the in-home waldorf schools? much smaller (better for keeping tabs on who is doing what and for positive conflict resolution) and many times sweeter. this has been our experience, at least. our daughter goes to violet garden in sellwood with jody bothe. i think there are 13 children with 2 adults. it is a half day (you said you needed full time?) 3 days a week and a bit pricey, but we have found that her heart is really supported. she is nurtured, which makes all the difference. at the beginning of the year when she would cry and goodbye, i told her that jody is her "school mommy" - it is that tight. just wanted to share our experience and let you know you can go and observe (still!) for next fall's enrollment. she does not have a webpage as of yet, but i am happy to give you the phone number if you're interested.

I think I have this "I don't want to..." conversation every single day with my 3 yo - not just on our way to pre-school, but whenever there is any change to the status quo (including every time he has to come home from pre-school). We rely on my income to eat and pay the bills, so staying home isn't an option, but I agree it can be heart-wrenching.

We love pre-school, but I don't think you've "missed the boat". Some schools require certain skills prior to Kindergarten admission, so you might want to investigate the kindergarten you think you will be using to see if there's something your son should be learning...?

Good luck, mama!

i have 3 questions after reading your post:

~ does he get enough time alone w/you? one thought that comes to mind is leaving the baby w/a friend or sitter and picking up your little guy from preschool on your own and then doing something together on your own like going to the park or the library.

~ is it a preschool or a child care center? i've experienced both. they are a world apart even though a preschool could be used as child care. there are a wealth of wonderful small preschools out there. you may have to get on a wait list at some but parents often change their minds so don't let that deter you.

~ can he go to granny's and get what he needs? maybe granny is the best answer. i know if either of my daughter's granny's lived here, i'd be rethinking preschool. especially since she gets plenty of other socialization. plus - think of all the money i'd save. i think i'll go call my mom.

; >

I've been lucky to find childcare that my son loves here in Eugene, but I'm planning on moving to Portland in the next year with my son (now 18 months) and I'm terrified that I won't be able to get him into a good pre-school/childcare atmosphere because I can't find info on affordable childcare online (and so can't figure out where to get on a waitlist). I'm afraid I'm going to miss this boat, too, so I don't have any answers at all . . .

We often push our kids to separate from us and be okay with this "away-from-mommy" concept too early...Sometimes kids just aren't ready! And that is normal and okay. I know one of the reasons I am raising my kids in Portland instead of Manhattan is that Pacific Northwesterners seem to be more laid-back and have more common sense about raising kids. Let's let our 3 year olds lead as unstressed lives as possible! There are a lot of interesting studies out right now about burn-out in children who are pushed to enter the academic arena too early. It's okay if your child simply isn't ready---your job is to understand him, nurture him, and make him feel secure in this crazy world. He'll be ready when the time comes. Don't let anyone pressure you to push him too quickly--and cherish this time. I promise you he won't think "mom-time" is the coolest when he is 12, 13, 14 years old. :-)
Bless you for wanting to do the best thing for your son--none of this parenting stuff is easy!

I went through this too....the last month or two before I had baby #2, my 2 year old started complaining about going to "Tia Jacque's" (she went to in-home daycare at her aunt's house). We had a nice long maternity leave & then they stayed at my house with grandma for awhile. Then in January I started taking her with her little sister to her aunt's again & what do you know...she didn't want to go. In part it was waking up early...She was the oldest daycare child at that point so I think she was bored....I figured out at one point that she wasn't enjoying the scaring games that she used to love playing with her older cousin (pretending to be monsters, etc)....and I know that my sister-in-law doesn't do a whole lot of "activities" so there wasn't a enough intellectual stimulation.
Fortunately for me I quit my job & am doing daycare from home now. Every day I make sure to do some preschool activities with her & the other day she totally wowed me by recognizing a picture of the Eiffel Tower on the cover of a magazine--"Babar went there to look for his red suitcase!" I haven't been looking for preschool for her because I think freetime/being at loose ends is GOOD for children & I think I can give her the preparation she needs right here at home....I hope you can work out something that works for you!

i have a 5 almost 6 year old in kindergarten,i have so much trouble having him to like school. i dont know what to do anymore. i take him to school and he starts throwing tantrums, i have to always run after him, because he walks out, i dont know what to do anymore. someone help!

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