Thursday 17 October 2019

Dear David Coleman: My daughter hasn't settled in pre-school and I'm wondering if I should just call it quits and take her out?

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David Coleman

David Coleman

Question: My three-year-old daughter, took a while to settle into pre-school and only ever had one good week, before again becoming really unsettled, crying all-day, no matter what I or the pre-school do. The school has suggested she is just not ready and we are only upsetting her and the other children by persisting. I don't know what to do. Should we try again?

David replies: If it is the case that you are satisfied that the pre-school is well run, and the staff there are experienced, then it may be the case that you have, in fact, reached the limit of your daughter's ability to settle. The staff could be absolutely correct that she is just not ready for the formalised structure, and separation from you, that pre-school involves.

That is not to say that your daughter will never be ready for pre-school, or will never be able to separate successfully from you. But, I do think you need to listen to the clear communication from her that she is finding the process of being in pre-school to be too much and too hard just right now.

If you have the flexibility to keep her home then do so.

More time with you can allow her to feel reassured that she is secure and will allow her to relax and settle after the disruption that the last few months have involved for her.

A fresh start in a new pre-school, that doesn't carry all of the negative associations with stress and distress, that the current one may carry, could be just what she needs next autumn, when she is older and, perhaps, more ready.

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