Concerns for my 2 year old just starting Preschool — The Bump

Concerns for my 2 year old just starting Preschool

My 2 year old just started preschool.  He had a nanny come to our home and watch him all day since he was 8 weeks old.  We originally had put him in an all-day preschool since my husband and I both work.  It has been a week and one day so far.  He has had the typical crying when I leave him there and I was prepared for that.  What I was not prepared for was the crying when I picked him up.  He also doesn't eat breakfast anymore and breakfast used to be his best meal.  He barely even eats dinner also.  He is also a very small 2 year old.  He is only in the 3rd percentile for height and weight.  They say he is happy and that he eats at school but I don't see any of that.   It’s not that I don’t believe them, but I only see the sadness.  He is incredibly clingy when we are at home. He will absolutely not let me put him down.  I can't even cook dinner because he won't let me put him down.  Then when it is bed time, he screams uncontrollably for about an hour, continuously climbs out of his bed and bangs his head against his bed until he eventually lays down and whimpers himself to sleep.  Either my husband or myself have to sit in his room to continue to put him back in his bed every time he climbs out.  Then, he wakes up periodically throughout the night screaming crying.  We then have to go back down to his room to rock him to sleep and put him back in his bed.  It is like having a newborn again.   He used to be so good at putting himself to sleep.  We would read him a book and put him in bed and he was great.  He would just roll over and go to sleep.  No problem at all.  Should we be concerned? And do you have any advice on what to do in our situation?

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Re: Concerns for my 2 year old just starting Preschool

  • Is there a reason you switched from the nanny to the "preschool"...?

    If the teachers are telling you it's going well (he's happy and will eat at school), then you should give it a few weeks and see.

  • did you do a slow transition - where you/DH/nanny, brought him to the program, first for a half hour, another visit up to an hour, and several visits for an hour, and towards the end of the transition time having whomever brought him step out of the room (be available in the building) but to allow for him to explore on his own? those are extremely important visits for children, especially at that age.

    can you/have you called during the day to check in on your DS?

    transitions are hard for children and not only has your DS formed a relationship with you and your DH but the nanny too. does your DS still see the nanny at all? if not, maybe start some visits up with her.

    have you brought a photo album to daycare of your family for your DS to look at throughout the day or can they post them on the wall or near his nap space?

    does the daycare provide notes on specifics of what your DS did during the day? maybe some photographs to support what they are telling you.


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  • Yes (as a child psychotherapist) I would be concerned. I don't mean to scare you into thinking that he is being mistreated. But he is showing many significant signs that this is an extreme rough transition for him. And especially since he is acting drastically different from before. I wouldn't necessarily pull him out unless you feel that is appropriate. But at least have an in depth conversation with teachers and the director to come up with a plan on helping him.
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