Saturday 19 October 2019

Dear David Coleman: My daughter started preschool last September but she still doesn't seem to have settled. Should I take her out?

Photo posed
Photo posed
David Coleman

David Coleman

Q My daughter started preschool in September, three mornings a week for three hours. She cried almost every day up until Christmas. She refuses to eat anything there and is asking every night if she has preschool the next day. I think the preschool and staff are okay, but I do think they could be better. I am a stay-at-home mum. My question is should I take her out at this stage?

David replies: You seem to have a lot of evidence that your daughter is deeply unhappy and distressed about being in the preschool. Her distress may be about a separation anxiety, or it may be that the set-up in the preschool is not working for her.

Since you are a stay-at-home mum, you have a choice about having her there. You could still look after her at home. I think weighing up the pros and cons of the situation is okay, even at this stage of the year.

I think it is a fallacy to believe that children must go to preschool. They don't necessarily need the social interaction of preschools, nor do they need the educational aspect of preschools.

Children at that age just need to play and to interact with the world in a safe manner, engaged with a "good-enough" adult. Being at home, with some connections to a parent-and-toddler group can offer all of that.

Why push your daughter into an apparently distressing situation when her developmental needs can be met staying with you?

You could take her out and then try again in the autumn.

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