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Why doesn't my child want to go to play school?

Q: I am a single parent of a 3.2 years old child. He has never been left alone or with anybody other than me. I have started him with a play school just few days back. Was I too late to put him in a play school or is this age alright? He cries a lot in school and wishes to come back home. I am made to sit in the class, and have been doing so for past 5 days now. To me it appears he may need some more time, maybe a month to settle in school happily. Normally, how long does it take a child to settle in school? Also, if I move away from him, be it at school or home for some minutes, he cries miserably and I feel really sad. How do I handle this situation?

A:Since you have put the child in school at the age of 3 years, there is no point in worrying about whether you should have done so earlier. The focus should be on how to help him get settled into his play school now. All children have what is called separation anxiety . Since you may have been the only person taking care of him, he will feel apprehensive if you move away. But all children will eventually settle down. The time taken to do so will vary. With the help of his teacher, you should be able to go away after a little time and come back before school is over to take him back. Gradually, you should spend less time in school, and then he will learn to wave goodbye at the gate, as other children do. But you shouldn't worry about a little crying and some tears. Once he knows that he has to stay in school, he will adjust to your absence. Usually, teachers in Nursery School are experienced in handling this and you should try and go by their advice. Quite often, parents are so anxious about their child's adjustment to a new environment, that they can convey their anxiety to the child. You should be more relaxed and light hearted when you take him to school, talking about what a lot of fun he will have and he will absorb your message. When he gets back home, he should have a meal and a nap. When you are starting the next set of activities for him, you can both talk about what happened at school that day and so on. And don't worry about being a single parent. In many families, the father is so occupied with his job, that effectively a number of mothers become single parents!

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