How exciting the first days of preschool, daycare, even kindergarten are! They are filled with new clothes, new books, crayons, paper and enormous expectations! Wait! That was the teacher in me speaking. Lets get real. First days of preschool even kindergarten usually produce something called tears. Goodbye tears are hard for a child but even harder for the parent. I remember when I said goodbye to my little guy for the first time. He had tears and so did I. It was rough. I could not concentrate. I was so nervous that I apparently put the milk in the cupboard instead of the refrigerator that day. I tried to keep myself occupied and went to the craft store to buy a scrapbook to log his first year at preschool. I knew the tears were temporary. In my 19 plus years working with children I knew that this was a normal process some kids needed to go through. Sometimes a child would be perfectly fine the first days even the first week of school, then cry the next week. Why? There Must be something wrong with the school or the staff. Why is my child unhappy? Suspicions and fear start to take over your thoughts. All rational thinking goes out the door and fear sets in. So why the crying? Our kid loves us! Yes! that’s it! They are used to the comfort zone they have been in for so long with us at home. They are used to their safe bubble and branching out is just plain scary. The unknown is scary. If Junior was perfectly fine, then started to cry the second week, its most likely that he just realized that this is where he will be every day for the rest of his school year. I had a friend who’s child at the age of 2, would cry every day, all day at her daycare. She never let up and her mom ended up pulling her from the school. Something must have gone wrong! Guess what, something did go wrong. She was just not ready, and too young. Had this child been going to daycare from an earlier age, it would not have been a problem. There is this sweet age when you start your kids off at daycare and they are just fine, you miss that window and its much harder on them. Most infant and toddler programs will not allow a parent to just drop a their child off for few days a week. An entire weeks attendance is required. Why? Because it is actually easier on the child. Think about it. If a parent sends their child to a Tuesday/Thursday program they are not at school for 4 days in a row. Count Friday to Tuesday! That’s hard! Children need routine, so an everyday schedule or a Mon, Wed, Fri schedule actually works much better. It is more consistent. So, When my friend tossed her 2 year old needy child into daycare, it was brutal. Not only was she there on an inconsistent basis, but was left there until 5:30 each day. That was too long of a day for that particular child. Fast forward to today. The child is now 3. She is going back to the same daycare. My friend complained that she cries at drop off and says she does not want to go to school. She also cries when she sees other moms pick up their children. Something Must be wrong, she says. So, I asked some basic questions such as, does she stop crying a few minutes after you leave? The answer was Yes, she stops. I then comment about how normal that was, not to mention fantastic! I also told her that it is completely normal for a child to get anxious or sad when they see the other mommies pick up their children, when their mommy is not there yet. This information was coming from 19 plus years of experience, however she was adamant that Something Was Wrong. I’ll tell you what’s wrong. A worried, insecure , guilt ridden parent who projects their insecurities upon their children thus creating these insecurities. Parents, please! kids pick up on our feelings, body language, emotions. We need to be strong for them so they feel secure, happy and confident. Chances are, the only wrong thing with the daycare is just plain you, but if you feel the need to pull your child out, you might as well say to them; ” Yes, school is scary, no we wont give it a chance, we wont meet new friends and we will go backward and remain in our bubble where it is perfectly safe.” Then you will have to start all over when they get to Kindergarten with few social skills and a ton of anxiety….maybe. My experienced reply pretty much went on deaf ears and her paranoia took over again saying that the school, staff ,and program was perfect, but Something had to be wrong! Huh? I finally gave up the debate with my friend because sometimes you just cant lead a horse to water! Lets get off the Paranoia wagon and lead our children down the path of confidence. If your child is struggling, give them lots of love, let them know how proud you are of them and when you say goodbye to them, don’t linger, give them a happy confident smile, wish them a happy day and tell them you will see them later, because mommy Always comes back. Because the mama said so.