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Posted By Daycarespotter.com - Parent Blog Contributor on 04/14/2018 in Useful Information For Parents

Signs Your Child May Be Unhappy at their Preschool

Signs Your Child May Be Unhappy at their Preschool

Knowing exactly how your child is doing at daycare or preschool can be a challenge. In an ideal world, you would have perfect communication with their teacher and your child would be able to clearly articulate everything that happens to them during the day and how they felt about it, but in reality, things are a little more complicated.

Young kids are not always reliable communicators, but that doesn’t stop you from wanting to know about what they are doing and feeling.

Your child’s teacher should communicate to you what happens during a school day - activities and lessons, how your child is doing with potty training, etc, - but they may not be able to communicate with you how your child is feeling throughout the day.

Here are some things to look for that may indicate that your child is unhappy in their current daycare or preschool environment:

  1. They cry before they go to daycare or preschool. Some children cry every time they leave their mom or dad, and you know if this is true or not of your kid. Especially in a new school environment, some level of separation anxiety is to be expected, but if your child is uncharacteristically upset about going to school or doesn’t seem to be getting better about going to a new school, this could be a red flag. A good idea would be to request an observation or do several random pop-ups at different times. Your daycare or preschool should have a policy on this.
  2. They are reluctant to mention their school or talk about their school day. Again, you know your own child and their ability to communicate with you, but if school always seems like a scary subject to talk about with them, it may mean they are not settling into their school environment. Again, some anxiety (especially in the beginning) is normal, but you want your child to eventually enjoy going to school or daycare.
  3. Refusing to eat at school. Some kids are picky eaters and never eat well, and in that case, this one is not necessarily an indicator for unhappiness; but if your hearty eater refuses to eat at school, it may be because they feel anxious there. Of course, it could also mean he or she is too distracted by all of the kids in their class to focus on their food, so I wouldn’t rely on this indicator in and of itself. This, like everything else, needs to be taken with the whole picture of how your child is doing.
  4. Having difficulty sleeping or nightmares. Just like in adults, not sleeping well can be a sign that your child is experiencing stress in their life. Many kids go through phases of not sleeping or even having night terrors, but pay attention if these start while transitioning to a new school environment or if they only happen during the school week.
  5. Change in temperament. Again, just like not sleeping well, being overly grumpy or moody or really any change in your child’s temperament could point to unhappiness with their daycare or preschool. If your normally happy, playful kid is all of the sudden sullen or crabby, you may have a cause for concern.
  6. Stomachaches before school. If your child constantly complains of having an upset stomach before school, this could be a sign that they are nervous about going to school. Again, this is completely normal in a new environment, but shouldn’t persist.
  7. Behavior problems at school. Your child may act out at school for any number of reasons just like they do at home, but this indicator just like a change in temperament, is something to pay special attention to do, if these behaviors problems seem uncharacteristic of your child.

Any and all of these concerns should be something you can talk to your child’s preschool or daycare teacher about. Ask them what they are observing at school and ask if they have any suggestions to help make the transition to a new environment easier on your child. If you feel as though the staff of the school is unresponsive to your requests for help or doesn’t communicate clearly with you, this is a good indicator that your child is in the wrong place as well.

As a parent, you want your child to be a happy at school and you should always feel as though you can work with your childcare providers to help your child get to a place of comfort and joy in going to school.