The beginning of the school stage is hard, especially for young children, and those who are facing the classroom for the first time. Thus, it is very common that, in nursery schools and the first years of school, September mornings begin with inconsolable crying and children who cling tightly to the legs of their parents, who contemplate them helplessly knowing that they have to leave them there and go back to your job duties.
The normal thing is that this crying when entering school lasts a few days, but if this does not happen, instead of just letting the child cry, thinking that it will pass, we must investigate the reasons, as Pilu Hernández told us , teacher, trainer of trainers and CEO of El Pupitre de Pilu .
Why do children cry when we drop them off at school?
For a child to cry the first days of school is normal, and it is mainly due to fear, because we leave them in a new place with people they don’t know, “the most normal thing is for them to cry and be afraid, because we are leaving them with a strange person and in an unknown place. The weird thing would be if they didn’t have it and that they went quietly with someone they don’t know anything about ”, says Pilu.
This process is not the same in all children, nor does it last the same. Thus, children who are most introverted or very attached to their parents will take time to adapt and stop crying, and those who are more sociable or who have gone to school before, will have fewer problems, “in general, children who have already attended school. first cycle child, they are looking forward to the first day of school to go to ‘school for adults’ ”. In any case, “the normal thing is that the crying happens the first year of school a few days, or at the beginning of the second, but nothing more.”
How we can teach our children to cope with changes
Another common circumstance is that, after crying, the child calms down immediately and that, upon seeing his parents, he is ill again and crying, and this, according to Pilu Hernández, is due to the fact that “in reality the child thinks the first day that you are abandoning him, but once he sees the place, that there are toys, there are more children … he has a good time and he forgets. Once the parents return and he remembers that they have been left there, and especially if he has had a bad time, they have a bad time again, and he is even angry ”. The normal thing is that these behaviors also stop in a few days.
What if the adaptation passes and he keeps crying?
Sara Sálamo tells why she stopped taking her son to school after the first day: “It is unsustainable that he is crying”
As Pilu recommends, the crying of the first days is, in many cases, inevitable, but once the adaptation is over, which usually lasts a week, the normal thing is that the child already knows where he is going, he knows the people he is with. , the space, have a good time … and the crying disappears. If not, you have to investigate why it happens, look for other causes and address them , never let him cry or think that it will pass, “because children always cry about something . Perhaps, once the fear of the first day is overcome, he cries for other things, such as that he does not feel well in class, with his classmates, his teachers, something has happened to him and he is a very sensitive child … And that must be attended to ”. And this is a joint work of parents and teachers.
The latter, meanwhile, when a child is especially sensitive and cries daily, “we pay special attention to them , we spend more time with him, we observe what may be happening to him in class … and, depending on the child is better, he we are gradually withdrawing that extra support ”.
At home, parents should also observe, ask and, above all, try to make him socialize with his classmates outside of school , “many times this happens because the child is not used to being with more children, so parents in this sense They have to try to get them to interact with other children, including those in the class, outside of school so that they integrate more. It is a job that teachers have to do observing in class and parents at home, talking with the child … and with a lot of communication between the parents and the center ”.
“You should never let them cry or think that they will pass. Children always cry about something “
In addition to ignoring the crying or not giving it importance, there are other things that we should avoid, such as going into class with the child and staying for a while . Although there are nursery schools that let their parents stay with them during the adaptation period, Pilu Hernández advises against it, “with exceptions, such as children with special needs, this is counterproductive, because if the parents are nervous, they transmit anxiety to the child” .
Nor should we throw in the towel and erase the child from the nursery, “if a child does not adapt, we have to adapt our methodology to the child to do so . And give options, because we cannot forget the family conciliation. In general, parents take children to nursery school because they have to work, ”he says.
Recommendations for the first days …
To avoid crying as much as possible, Pilu Hernández gives us some tips for the first days:
• Do not give it more importance than it has, we all need a period of adaptation. Let’s give them their time. In Spain, according to her, the adaptations are well designed, “it gets better and better, especially with children with some kind of schooling opinion due to some kind of special need, such as Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder… In general, the adaptation is done in a week, and I think it is a good way to adapt, both the children and the teachers ”.
• Let’s listen when they cry , never ignore their crying.
• Let us explain the process and let them know that in a few hours later, we will return. To achieve this, it can be very useful, “explain to them a few days before, a little each day, where they are going to go, what they are going to do … so as not to confront each other suddenly and without knowing where they are going.” And always from the positive side.
• Let them tell us what they have done during the day. If we ask them and listen to them, in addition to making them feel that they matter, we will be able to know if there are any problems that are making it difficult for them to adapt.
The psychologist expert in positive parenting Álvaro Bilbao also recommends in his blog : establish routines soon , that we let them carry some object of attachment, never get angry with the child because he cries, congratulate him on his progress if every day they feel better, not look out of the window when we leave him, and, of course, never leave without giving him a kiss.